The West Tyrone representative Daniel McCrossan has publicly thanked those who selected him to replace Joe Byrne in the Assembly in the New Year.
Speaking after he was selected last night Mr McCrossan said, “It is a real honour to take over from Joe in the Assembly. He is the reason I joined the party and I’ve worked closely with him for many years now. I know this was not an easy decision for him but he’s remaining as Party Treasurer and I know he’ll be a close advisor.
“The energy in the room last night was a testimony to the work Joe has done over the years, and I know full well the responsibility I am taking on. But it is a challenge that l am ready for and I would like to thank everyone who supported me last night.
“Here in West Tyrone the appetite for what the SDLP has to offer is growing. We increased our votes in the Westminster election and I look forward to increasing our vote again in the May elections and returning to the Assembly.
“Under Colum Eastwood the SDLP is bringing a message that we must all commit to making the north work. That means real partnership across communities and real leaders capable of understanding the difference between being in power and being in government. It is a radical message at the right time, and it’s bringing in new members right across the north. I am honoured to be part of this.
“As the next MLA for West Tyrone I will campaign for proper commitment to funding the A5, for strategic investment in increasing apprenticeship places and for Northern Ireland to remain within Europe.
“Every single town across Northern Ireland faces challenges and it is no different here. I recently met with staff concerned about losing their jobs in Omagh with the proposed closure of Homebase and in Strabane after weeks of calling for work to be done on the River Finn and flooding which affected hundreds of people, work has finally begun.
“That is the sort of practical leadership I intend on delivering for the people of West Tyrone and I look forward to joining the rest of the SDLP team in the Assembly in the New Year.”