Belfast Telegraph

Former barrister and junior boxing champion to replace outgoing Belfast Sinn Fein councillors

By Jonathan Bell

A former barrister and a junior boxing champion have been selected to replace outgoing Sinn Fein councillors at Belfast City Hall.

Claire Canavan has been selected to replace the Jim McVeigh, the current leader of Sinn Fein at the council. An announcement on his replacement as council group leader is expected at another date.

Claire was a barrister for seven years before becoming Fra McCann's political advisor and constituency manager in 2014. The  34-year-old was later a policy advisor in Stormont from 2016.

She grew up in the Clonard area of Belfast and attended St Dominic’s Grammar School before completing a degree in Law and Politics at Queen's University.

Claire has been a Sinn Fein activist since her teens and is a committee member of Clonard Residents Association and is interested in the Irish language attending classes.

Her nomination for the position at City Hall is to be approved by the Sinn Fein ruling body before she is co-opted onto the council and will represent the Court area.

"I am proud and honoured to have been chosen by Sinn Fein to go forward to the Ard Chomhairle for approval to be co-opted to Belfast City Council to replace Jim McVeigh as a councillor for Court DEA.

"I want to thank my colleagues for placing their faith in me to represent this area and I want to play my part in continuing the growth of Sinn Fein in this area and in Belfast City Council.

"I want to thank Jim for the great work he did locally and for the many years of work he has put in as a Sinn Fein councillor in this area.

"Momentum has been building behind Sinn Fein's platform of equality, rights and Irish unity and, if my selection is approved, I will do all in my power to advance that programme.”

Meanwhile 23-year-old Ryan Murphy has been selected to replace Gerry McCabe for the Oldpark ward in the north of the city.

A junior boxing champion Ryan attended St Patrick’s College Belfast and the University of Ulster Jordanstown. He currently works in the party’s Assembly policy team and has been chairperson of the Sinn Fein Youth Committee in Belfast and chair of the Ligoniel Cumann.

He also spoke of the honour of being selected to represent the area.

“I am in no doubt about the challenge ahead but the solid foundations that have been laid down by Gerry McCabe and all those who have gone before me mean that this is a brilliant time to be a Republican representative," he said.

“My pledge is to continue to be the best activist that I can be and to represent the people of Ardoyne and Ligoniel to the best of my ability working as part of a great Sinn Fein team.

“The days of second-class citizenship are gone and equality, respect and integrity are our road map towards a new inclusive and reconciled Ireland.

“Parts of the Oldpark Ward remain among some of the north’s most deprived communities and yes great work has been done but much remains to be done and I look forward to playing my part in that transformation.”

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