Newly elected MLA Mark H Durkan has said he is looking forward to the challenge of serving in the Assembly.
Mr Durkan was elected on stage four of the counting process at Lisneal College on Saturday.
He received 4,970 first preference votes, 500 short of the quota. He got 412 transfers from DUP MLA William Hay following the distribution of his surplus votes.
He also received 106 votes from the distribution of Martina Anderson’s surplus.
He was then elected following the elimination of Terry Doherty, Paul McFadden and Keith Mc Grellis.
Following the announcement of his election he was congratulated by his son Luke, girlfriend, Anne, and family members.
The newly elected MLA said he was pleased with his performance. “I’m happy with my own vote and pleased we have managed to hold three seats. Everyone has worked hard and it is unfortunate that one of our candidates has not been successful,” he said.
He also played down reports that his success was based on the fact that he shares his name with the Foyle MP.
“I’m not naïve enough to think the name did not help but it is also the name of my brother, sisters, mother and father, not just my uncle. The Durkan brand has worked for the SDLP but that is because it has worked for the people.
“I also got transfers from Martina Anderson and Willie Hay which is attributable to my hard work,” he said.
He also said he is looking forward to taking his seat. “It is a big step up but I’m prepared for it. I have plenty of experience working with Mary [Bradley], Pat [Ramsey], and Mark so I won’t have far to look for advice and guidance.
“I’m going to take my hard work ethic to Stormont and tackle the red tape and beauracracy,” he said.