SDLP finalises Foyle candidates for Assembly election


Four SDLP candidates will contest the next Assembly election in Foyle, the party has confirmed.

They are MLAs Pol Callaghan and Pat Ramsey, and councillors Mark H Durkan and Colum Eastwood.

Pol Callaghan was chosen to replace Foyle MP Mark Durkan, who stood down from the Assembly last month.

He was elected unopposed after the leader of the SDLP on Derry City Council, Helen Quigley, resigned amid an internal row over the co-option.

Pat Ramsey was initially not reselected, but was added to the ticket by the party leader Margaret Ritchie.

He said that he would be "a local champion for Derry as part of a stronger and bigger SDLP group at the heart of the government in Stormont after next year's election".

"While the new SDLP team in Foyle must protect the legacy of John Hume and Mark Durkan we must also defend our constituents by focussing on rebuilding our local economy with shared prosperity," he said.

Pol Callaghan said the people of Derry were hungry for change, and he would "help build a newly energised SDLP to deliver it".

"I want to lead a new wave of SDLP politics to build a better Derry and shape a better Ireland."

Councillor and mayor of Derry, Colum Eastwood, said people in Derry can "look to the future with confidence".

"I aim to reach out to voters both young and old and maximise the huge potential of Derry as a tourist and economic hub to improve the lives of all our citizens."

Councillor Mark H Durkan said the city's recent successes "gives us the fuel to put Derry on the global map".

"The SDLP is a strong voice with the fresh ideas on the issues that affect people most and in the areas in which our opponents are spectacularly failing."

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