Alex Maskey adviser Orlaithi Flynn to become SF MLA
An adviser to Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey has been selected as Stormont's newest MLA.
Orlaithi Flynn is the party's choice to replace west Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann, who last month announced she was stepping down from the Assembly.
The 28-year-old is a graduate of both Ulster University and Queen's University, Belfast, and was the only person nominated to succeed Ms McCann.
Ms Flynn's selection was ratified during a meeting at the Felons Club in the west of Belfast last night.
The Grammar school-educated adviser already has several years' experience of the Stormont system, having also been an aide to former Sinn Fein MLAs Rosie McCorley and Sue Ramsey.
Speaking last night, Ms Flynn said she was "honoured and privileged" to have been nominated to succeed Ms McCann as MLA.
"I would like to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Jennifer McCann as she steps down as MLA and moves on to another important role within the party," she added.
"She has been and continues to be an inspiration to me and to many others.
"I am proud to be part of that new generation of republicans benefiting from the huge progress already made towards our goals and objectives, and determined to complete the job of reuniting our country and building a new Ireland.
"I hope to be working alongside my party colleagues in the Assembly and providing the type of dynamic leadership that Sinn Fein is synonymous with."
Former Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile said that Ms Flynn was both a capable and committed activist.
Describing his adviser as "the future" of the party, Alex Maskey tweeted: "Great loss as adviser - but great gain as Assembly team comrade."
No by-election is required for Ms Flynn to succeed Ms McCann as one of the six MLAs representing west Belfast.