Sinn Féin have launched their campaign to attempt to unseat Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan in any forthcoming Westminster campaign by selecting Martina Anderson as the party's candidate.
Ms Anderson was selected at Derry Sinn Fin’s Annual General Meeting held in the Everglades Hotel on Tuesday evening. The Foyle MLA said she was “honoured” to be chosen as the party’s candidate and added she was confident she can build on Sinn Fin’s growth in previous elections.
“It is a great honour for me to be selected to represent Sinn Fin in the campaign for the Foyle Westminster seat. I am doubly honoured to have been chosen to pick up where Mitchel McLaughlin left off because it is due to the steady hand and wise leadership of people like Mitchel McLaughlin that we have secured the political gains we enjoy today. Mitchel will be a hard act to follow but I intend to do my utmost to build on those gains and to use them as a springboard to advance this struggle,” she said.
The newly selected candidate also said the people of Derry are ready for a change. “Derry may be the North’s second city but it has become the capital of disadvantage and deprivation and this needs to be changed that is why Derry needs new leadership because for too long the present political status quo has not defended the rights of the people of Derry to be treated as equals, as first class citizens. It is obvious that this change is needed for Derry to be able to compete on a level basis and I am determined to take that message to every single Minister so that our demands for more investment in health, housing, jobs, education, infrastructure and tourism are heard. This can only be done with the support of the people and I know that the people of Derry embrace change and can continue to be the catalyst of political change to deliver that New Ireland,” she said.
At the last general election Mark Durkan retained the seat for the SDLP with a comfortable majority from the Sinn Fin challenger, Mitchel McLaughlin. Ms Anderson acknowledged she would face challenges in any election race but insisted she was ready for the job. “There is a long way to travel yet and there is a lot of hard work ahead but Sinn Fin is at the heart of that process and with us we carry the hopes, dreams and entitlements of the people of Derry. We are the only party who can turn those hopes and dreams into a reality and I give you this pledge today. I will work to ensure that the fortunes of Derry are turned around and that the people are treated equally when it comes to development and investment,” she said.