SDLP select super council candidates

The SDLP's Dermott Henderson.
The SDLP's Dermott Henderson.
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The SDLP has chosen its team of candidates to contest next year’s local government elections, which will be held in May.

The candidates were chosen at a selection convention held in the Tower Hotel on Thursday evening.

They will contest the first election to select representatives for the new ‘super council,’ which will amalgamate the existing Derry and Strabane council areas as part of the Review of Public Administration.

Two long-standing SDLP councillors, Jim Clifford and Shaun Gallagher, together with Ann Donnelly will not contest the election.

Five new names will be added to the ballot papers at the election, although one of the new candidates, Jim McKeever, is a former councillor.

In the Waterside, sitting councillors Gerard Diver and Martin Reilly, the current mayor of Derry, will be the party’s candidates.

In the Ballyarnett electoral area, which will replace the former Shantallow ward, the candidates will be sitting councillors Angela Dobbins and Jimmy Carr and they will be joined by Colm O’Connor and Brian Tierney. Colm O’Connor is a politics student at Queens University, Belfast, and Brian Tierney is a relative of former SDLP councillor, John Tierney.

In the new Foyleside electoral area, which will largely replace the existing Northland ward, sitting councillor John Boyle will be joined on the ticket by Shauna Cusack, who was recently co-opted on to Derry City Council to replace John Tierney, and Rory Farrell, who works in Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan’s constituency office.

In the Faughan electoral area, which will replace the existing rural ward, the candidates will be sitting councillors Brenda Stevenson and Gus Hastings and they will be joined by Jim McKeever. Mr McKeever was previously a member of Derry City Council before stepping down as a candidate a day before the deadline for nominations in 2011.

In the Moor electoral area, which will replace the existing Cityside ward, sitting councillor Sean Carr will be joined by Dermott Henderson and Emmet Doyle on the ballot papers. Mr Henderson previously contested the 2011 elections and Mr Doyle works for Pat Ramsey MLA.