Former Chamber boss to take SDLP Council seat

L-R: Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan with outgoing Councillor Tina Gardiner, Sinead McLaughlin and Colum Eastwood.
L-R: Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan with outgoing Councillor Tina Gardiner, Sinead McLaughlin and Colum Eastwood.

Former Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin has been selected by the SDLP to replace outgoing Waterside Councillor Tina Gardiner.

Mrs McLaughlin will be officially co-opted onto Derry City & Strabane District Council next week after ratification by the local party last night.

SDLP Party Leader Colum Eastwood said: “Tina Gardiner was a fantastic councillor that did sterling work and provided great representation for the people of the Waterside.

“Her replacement, Sinead McLaughlin, brings a wealth of experience having represented Derry’s business community for the past 13 years and spearheaded the north’s Remain campaign in the Brexit referendum. She is an excellent addition to our team.”

Mrs McLaughlin described it as “an honour” to be representing the SDLP on the local council.

“To say we are living in interesting political times is the greatest understatement,” she said.

“Brexit presents many challenges to our communities, our region and our country and I believe that as citizens we all have a duty to play a positive role in building a better, fairer and more tolerant society.

“In the absence of the devolved administration in Stormont, I believe that the role of Council is now more important than ever, and I am looking forward to playing my part in delivering a City Deal that will unlock the true potential of this city and region.”

Outgoing councillor Tina Gardiner said: “It has been a real privilege to have served as a public representative on Derry City and Strabane District Council over the past three years.

“Due to family and work commitments, I will not be able to give enough time to the council role, so I have made the difficult decision to resign my seat. I will continue, as an SDLP member, to be involved in politics working alongside my party colleagues to further John Hume’s vision of a peaceful and prosperous agreed Ireland.

“I am delighted that Sinead McLaughlin has been chosen by the party to replace me. In the face of Brexit and with the unfinished work of securing a City Deal for the region, Sinead’s experience will be invaluable.”

SDLP Group Leader and Waterside Councillor Martin Reilly concluded: “I want to thank Tina for her contribution to the Council and her continued support to the SDLP Group. Sinead brings excellent skills to the Council and will be a strong asset as we work towards delivery of a City Deal for the Derry and Strabane district.”