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Former Foyle MP Elisha McCallion among Sinn Fein Seanad candidates

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Elisha McCallion

Elisha McCallion

PA

Elisha McCallion

Former Foyle MP Elisha McCallion is among seven Sinn Fein candidates for this month's Seanad election.

Mrs McCallion, who also served as Foyle MLA and Mayor of Derry, will run on the Industrial and Commercial Panel for the Irish Senate.

She served as Foyle MP until last November after upsetting incumbent Mark Durkan in June 2017.

Mrs McCallion lost her seat to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood in a landslide when he gained a majority of 17,110 votes, the biggest in Northern Ireland. Her vote fell from 18,256 in 2017 to just 9,771 two years later.

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Niall O Donnghaile

Niall O Donnghaile

PA

Niall O Donnghaile

Also running is former Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O Donnghaile who will be hoping to return to the Seanad on the Administrative Panel.

The former Foyle MLA, who succeeded Martin McGuinness, said she was honoured to have been selected.

"If elected, alongside Niall O Donnghaile, I will be a voice for the north in the Oireachtas, increasing representation and driving our agenda of giving workers and families a break and advancing unity," Mrs McCallion said.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald echoed her comments.

"“Sinn Fein Senators will help to advance the party’s agenda of giving workers and families a break, building homes, reducing and freezing rents, tackling the trolley crisis securing the state pension at 65 years of age and preparing for Irish Unity," she said.

Other Northern Ireland based candidates for the election include former Ulster Farmers Union President Ian Marshall who became the first unionist elected to the Seanad in 2018 and Londonderry-based writer and journalist Garbhan Downey who is running on the platform of establishing an independent university in the north-west.

The Seanad is the upper house of the Irish legislature which also comprises the Dail. It is made up of 60 members who are not directly elected, but nominated and selected in a variety of ways, including by the Taoiseach, other politicians and universities in the Irish Republic. Its powers are limited and similar to those of the House of Lords.

Other Sinn Fein candidates include former Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan will run on the Agriculture Panel alongside Councillor Gerry Murray from Mayo.

Sitting Senators Paul Gavan and Maire Devine will run on the Labour Panel while Fintan Warfield will run on the Culture and Education Panel.

Polling for the Seanad election closes on March 30 with the result expected shortly after.

Belfast Telegraph