Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion has been formally endorsed as the party’s candidate for Foyle in the forthcoming Westminster election.
The recently elected Assembly Member for Foyle said she was “honoured” to have been chosen to contest the seat currently held by SDLP MP, Mark Durkan.
Speaking after her official endorsement last night,Mrs. McCallion told the ‘Journal ‘ she hoped local people will help strengthen her party’s representation so they can build on the strides achieved in negotiations at the EU, where the big decisions will be taken over Brexit and the Irish border.
She said: “I am honoured to have been selected by the party in Derry to contest the Foyle constituency in the upcoming Westminster election.
“Sinn Féin is coming off the back of a very successful Assembly election and here in Derry we received our biggest ever vote with 16,350 first preference votes. We intend to build on that and are ready to contest this election as it will be an opportunity for voters to oppose Brexit and reject Tory cuts and austerity.”
Mrs. McCallion said that it should be remembered that 78.6 per cent of the electorate in Foyle voted last year to stay in Europe. “Theresa May needs to hear clearly from the people of Foyle that we don’t want Brexit, we don’t want a border and we don’t want Tory cuts and austerity,” she said.
“There also needs to be designated status for the North within the EU and for a future based on equality, respect, integrity and unity.
“The status of any border – how hard or restrictive it will be – will be taken by the 27 remaining states in Europe not by the British Government.
“That is why we need a strong mandate here in the North to strengthen the voice of our MEPs in Brussels and Strasbourg and our TDs in the Dáil. We have a team of 4 MEPs representing the island of Ireland who have built up a strong working relationship with political leaders from all of the remaining 27 EU states.
“They have garnered tremendous support in EU political circles and within the EU Commission and Parliament for special status for the North within the EU. A strong mandate in this election for Sinn Féin would put pressure on the Irish government to support that position.”
Mrs. McCallion said that the election was “not about sending individuals to sit in Westminster where their voices are lost or ignored in a chamber of 650 MPs with absolutely no interest in what is best for the North of Ireland”.
“It is about your future and creating a new Ireland in a new Europe,” she said.