Gearóid Ó hEára - I can take seat from SDLP

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Sinn Fein Westminster election candidate for Foyle, Gearóid Ó hEára, believes he can take the seat from the SDLP at the general election on May 7.

Mr. Ó hEára was speaking at the official launch of election campaign in Da Vinci’s Hotel on Tuesday afternoon.

“Sinn Fein is now the biggest party in the new Derry City and Strabane District Council. I think that that shows the direction the people want to go. At the last election we had reduced the number of votes we lost by from 13,464 in 1983 to 4,824 in 2010. It’s a brilliant sign of the progress we have made and I honestly believe that we can do it on May 7,” said Mr. Ó hEára.

The election campaign launch was attended by local Sinn Fein activists, councillors, MLAs, MEPs and Mr. Ó hEára’s family.

Sinn Fein MLA for Belfast South, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, was one of the main speakers at the launch.

Mr. Ó Muilleoir has been selected by Sinn Fein as their candidate to contest the Westminster seat in Belfast South at the general election in May.

Sinn Fein officially launch Gear�id " hE�ra's Westminster election campaign in Da Vinci's. Pictured from left to right is, Martina Anderson MEP, Gear�id " hE�ra (Sinn Fein Westminster candidate for Foyle), Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, MLA, Elisha McCallion, Derry City Councillor, Maeve McLaughlin MLA, M�irt�n " Muilleoir MLA and Sinn Fein Westminster candidate for Belfast South and Raymond McCartney MLA.

Sinn Fein officially launch Gear�id " hE�ra's Westminster election campaign in Da Vinci's. Pictured from left to right is, Martina Anderson MEP, Gear�id " hE�ra (Sinn Fein Westminster candidate for Foyle), Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, MLA, Elisha McCallion, Derry City Councillor, Maeve McLaughlin MLA, M�irt�n " Muilleoir MLA and Sinn Fein Westminster candidate for Belfast South and Raymond McCartney MLA.

“When I became mayor of Belfast I tried to model myself on how Gearóid did it when he was mayor of Derry - I don’t think I was ever as laid back as he was though,” he joked.

“Joking aside, Gearóid has been integral to the development and growth of the Irish language and culture in the island of Ireland. Gearóid played an important role in bringing the Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin to Derry and not only is it one of the best Irish language centres in Ireland it’s one of the best Irish culture centres also.

“Gearóid is a top class candidate to contest this election and I wish him all the best.”

The election launch was chaired by Derry City Councillor, Elisha McCallion. Colr. McCallion will become the first official mayor of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council when it comes into power on April 1.

They say you learn a lot about man when you go fishing with him and myself and Gearóid have done our fair share of fishing together

Deputy First Minister - Martin McGuinness

Also in attendance was Deputy First Minister and Mid Ulster MLA, Martin McGuinness, who described Mr. Ó hEára’s candidacy as “second to none”.

“They say you learn a lot about man when you go fishing with him and myself and Gearóid have done our fair share of fishing together.

“I’ve known Gearóid for over 40 years and I am delighted that he will be contesting the election for Sinn Fein in Foyle on May 7.

“Sinn Fein believes that the single greatest threat to the people in the North is a Tory led agenda coming from Westminster. Sinn Fein has consistently stood up to austerity coming from Westminster and Leinster House. A vote for Sinn Fein and a vote for Gearóid Ó hEára is a vote for equality and a vote against austerity and when it comes to contesting this election in Foyle, Gearóid is second to none.”

To read more about Gearóid Ó hEára’s election campaign launch, read The Derry Journal, which will be on the shelves one day early this week because of Good Friday.