Derry Sinn Féin leadership accepts recommendation of new electoral strategy group to run Assembly election in city

An electoral strategy group is to be set up by Sinn Féin to prepare for next year's Assembly election in Derry.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:44 am
Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry in 2019.

The leadership of the party in Derry has accepted a recommendation to set up the group to run the campaign in advance of the election which is due to take place in May 2022 at the latest.

The party confirmed the establishment of the group after it was reported that some members of the Derry Comhairle Ceantair had been asked to stand aside.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: "Sinn Féin established a review group in the Foyle constituency in the context of next year's Assembly election.

"Derry Sinn Féin has accepted a recommendation from that review to set up an electoral strategy group to oversee preparation for those elections."

The intervention is understood to stem from disappointment over recent elections results in Derry.

While Sinn Féin eclipsed the SDLP in the city for the first time with its vote share in the Assembly election of 2017 and followed this up in the Westminster election for Foyle a few months later the party locally has suffered reversals since then.

It lost its position as the main party on Derry City and Strabane District Council when its seat tally in Derry fell from 10 in 2014 to 7 in the last local government elections in May 2019.

Its main rival the SDLP maintained its share of nine seats in the Derry District Electoral Areas.

There was further disappointment when SDLP leader Colum Eastwood won 57 per cent of the vote in the Westminster election of December 2019 and was returned as MP.

Sinn Féin's Elisha McCallion received 20.7 per cent of the vote - a spectacular collapse from the 39.7 per cent that had made her the first republican to be elected in a General Election in Derry since Eoin Mac Néill in 1918.