McGuinness rules out Foyle MP contention

NO FEE FOR REPRODUCTION''Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography.
NO FEE FOR REPRODUCTION''Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography.

Martin McGuinness appears to have ruled out running against the SDLP for the Foyle Westminster seat.

The Deputy First Minister has long been linked with a political return to his home town.

Indeed, his recent decision to step down from his Westminister seat in Mid-Ulster re-ignited speculation that he might be tempted to contest the Foyle seat currently held by former SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

But, in an interview over the weekend, the Derry republican dismissed the prospect.

Asked if he was ruling out running in a Westminister election again, he replied: “Absolutely.”

He added: “I see my role as working in the Assembly and continuing with the incredible work of the last five years.”

He also ruled out running in Foyle in an Assembly poll.

“I intend, as long as my health holds up, to represent the Mid Ulster constituency in the Assembly and, if people want me here, in the Executive,” he said.

The Foyle Westminster seat has long been regarded as a key target for Sinn Fein.

The SDLP has held it for almost 30 years with former party leaders John Hume and Mark Durkan taking the seat.

Martin McGuinness has previously unsuccessfully contested the seat as have his party colleagues Mitchel McLaughlin and Martina Anderson.

In the 2010 General Election, Mark Durkan held the seat with just under 45% of the vote with Martina Anderson securing almost 32%.

However, in the 2011 Assembly election, Sinn Fein’s vote in the constituency increased, narrowing the gap on the SDLP.

Meanwhile, Mr. McGuinness says the party will attempt a fresh lobby for northern representation in Dail Eireann.

“What we want to see is people who are represented in Westminster having representation in the Dail but I understand there will be considerable debate around that,” he said. (See also Page 4)