Tough task for ‘newcomer’ Callaghan

A worried looking Pol Callaghan (SDLP) pictured at the count centre in Lisneal College.

A worried looking Pol Callaghan (SDLP) pictured at the count centre in Lisneal College.

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Pól Callaghan knew from the outset that he faced a tough task to hold on to his Assembly seat due to the “high profiles” of his SDLP running mates.

Mr Callaghan, who was co-opted into the Assembly in November after Mark Durkan stepped down to focus on his duties at Westminster, said he was disappointed to lose out with a first preference tally of 2,624. However, despite securing the lowest first preference vote of the four SDLP candidates, he said he was proud that he polled very well in the “quarter of the constituency” he was allocated to canvass.

“When you put your name forward you have to be aware of the possibility that you will not come through especially when you are a newcomer to frontline politics and you are up against three high profile candidates from our party and others from the other parties,” he said.

Mr Callaghan said he will be reflecting on the result and his future in politics in the days ahead. “I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, my wife Fiona, and my election agent, Brenda Stevenson,” he added.