Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein selects Barry McElduff replacement for West Tyrone by-election

By Jonathan Bell

Sinn Fein has selected its candidate for the forthcoming West Tyrone by-election following the resignation of Barry McElduff.

Barry McElduff resigned on January 15 after outrage over a video he posted on Twitter in which he posed with a loaf of bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

He apologised saying he had not realised the significance of the date and was suspended by his party. He later resigned as MP saying he did not want to be a "barrier to reconciliation and healing".

No date has been set for the by-election as yet. It is not unusual for seats to sit vacant for months in the wake of an MP's departure.

On Sunday, Sinn Fein selected Carrickmore solicitor Órfhlaith Begley to contest the election following a meeting in Omagh. The 26-year-old is daughter to former chairman of Omagh District Council Sean Begley who was a councillor for 26 years.

She currently works in a solicitor in both civil and criminal law and is described as a passionate human rights advocate.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill described her as an "articulate, dynamic and strong republican woman".

“I am proud to have been selected by my party colleagues to contest the West Tyrone by election," said Órfhlaith.

“I hope to be a new voice for the constituency and look forward to working with the Sinn Fein team in West Tyrone to regain the Westminster seat and build on the first-class representation Sinn Fein provides for all.

“If elected MP for West Tyrone I pledge that I will be an MP for all, that I will work without fear or favour for all the people of this constituency."

Her local selection will go to the Sinn Fein ruling executive - the Ard Chomhairle - for approval.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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