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Nicola Brogan to replace SF's Catherine Kelly as West Tyrone MLA following Covid payment scandal


Nicola Brogan

Nicola Brogan

Nicola Brogan

Sinn Fein has announced it will co-opt Nicola Brogan to replace West Tyrone MLA Catherine Kelly following her resignation over a failure to return money from a Stormont emergency Covid fund.

Ms Kelly, who represented West Tyrone at Stormont, quit last week after admitting being a signatory to a party account into which £10,000 was paid in error.

Her husband Barry McColgan, the party's West Tyrone constituency manager, resigned over the issue earlier in the week.

The money, which was supposed to help small businesses struggling because of Covid-19, lay there for seven months before being returned last week when the media found out.

On Friday Sinn Fein announced it has selected Nicola Brogan to go forward for co-option for West Tyrone.

Her selection will now go to the party's Ard Chomhairle for ratification.

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Ms Brogan said: "I want to thank Sinn Fein members in West Tyrone for selecting me to go forward for co-option to the Assembly.

"I look forward to serving the people of West Tyrone and working alongside my party colleagues from the area and across Ireland to make their voices heard.

"Many challenges lie ahead but we are in a decade of opportunity which will shape the future of this island. There is a part for everyone to play in that and I look forward to playing my part in standing up for workers and families and creating a new Ireland for all."

From the Lislap area of Omagh, Ms Brogan is a graduate in politics and criminology.

West Tyrone MP Órfhlaith Begley added: "Nicola will be a great addition to the Sinn Fein team in West Tyrone and I have no doubt she will be a dedicated and tireless representative who will work hard for the people of the area.

"I look forward to working alongside Nicola and wish her well in her new role."

Four Sinn Fein members have so far resigned their posts over the scandal, including Senator and former MP Elisha McCallion.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the failure to return the grants immediately was "unacceptable".

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