Belfast Telegraph

SDLP selects Sinead McLaughlin to replace Colum Eastwood as Foyle MLA

Sinead McLaughlin with Colum Eastwood MP and Mark H Durkan MLA
Sinead McLaughlin with Colum Eastwood MP and Mark H Durkan MLA

Sinead McLaughlin has been selected to replace party leader Colum Eastwood as the new SDLP MLA for Foyle.

Following Mr Eastwood's election as an MP in a landslide victory over Sinn Fein's Elisha McCallion in December, he was forced to give up his Assembly seat.

Ms McLaughlin previously served as Chief Executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce. She will have to give up her seat on Derry and Strabane District Council.

She said it was an honour to take up the role and had been an "immense privilege" to serve on the council for the past year.

Ms McLaughlin said: "I am deeply grateful for all those who I’ve worked with and I look forward to building on those relationships as I take on this new challenge.

"This is a critical time for Derry. The extraordinary potential of this city and our people has been left undeveloped for far too long. My priority is delivering new jobs, investment and infrastructure that will provide everyone living here with the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions.

"It starts with the expansion of our university to give young people the chance to study, work and build a life for themselves here. But it also means investing in transport infrastructure to bring new industries and new employers to the North West. Delivering on the potential of our City Deal is critical to that.

"I’m looking forward to working with Colum as our MP and with Mark H Durkan to deliver for Derry. That means getting power sharing back up and running. I’m not in this to be an MLA who sits on the sidelines. I’m ready to get to work and I’ll be going in with sleeves rolled up on day one."

Colum Eastwood said McLaughlin was a proven "fierce public representative".

"I am delighted that we have someone of Sinead’s calibre who’s stepping forward to defend the interests of people across Derry at such a crucial time for the city and for politics in the North," he said.

"Sinead has proven herself as a fierce public representative over the last year as an SDLP councillor and brings with her an immense amount of experience having served previously as Chief Executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce. We need people who know what it takes to deliver jobs and investment in this city - this is a signal of our intent to deliver for Derry."

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