It’s all change for Sinn Fein councillor Elisha McLaughlin who has decided to switch from using her maiden name to her married name, two years after marrying husband Declan.
From now on Elisha will take on the surname McCallion and says it was a personal decision which meant a lot to her, Declan and the couple’s two children Daithi (7) and Fiachra (4).
“I never felt the need to change my name when we got married,” Elisha explained, “and I suppose I don’t need to now but it is something I want to do.
“I never realised it meant so much to my husband before now. We just never discussed it until recently, and it was then I decided the time was right to make the change.”
Elisha explained that her husband’s birthname is not McCallion and that he himself changed his surname to take on the name of his step father.
“He had to go through deed poll, which was quite a lengthy proceedure. And I suppose seeing what he went through to change his name, I wanted to change mine as well as it means so much to him.”
The couple, who have been together 14 years, married in 2009 and both their children have always had the McCallion surname.
“One of the deciding factors for us was the fact that the children were now a bit older and in school and starting to ask why I had a different surname.”
Elisha says the decision was no backlash against feminism, but simply a “personal decision based on my personal circumstances”.
Clearly as an elected representative it is now important that people recognise the name McCallion - but she said at least she has a pretty unusual first name to help her stand out from the crowd.
“There aren’t too many Elishas around,” she said, “so people should still know who I am, although I’ll still have to go through all the proper channels to have my name changed officially.”