Sinn Féin has announced its team of candidates to contest next year’s ‘super council’ election which will see Derry and Stabane councils merge.
The 21 candidates were named at a selection convention held in the party’s Rath Mór constituency office on Sunday afternoon.
It is the first time candidates for both Derry and Strabane have been announced together.
Alongside the sitting councillors, the new candidates from Derry are Michael McCrossan, Christopher Jackson, Liam Friel and Sandra Duffy.
Twenty-one-years-old Diarmuid Ward is the youngest candidate and will join sitting councillors from the Strabane area on the ballot papers.
A replacement for Waterside Councillor Lynn Fleming was also chosen at the selection convention when party activist Bridget Meehan was co-opted to fill the vacancy left by the former Mayor.
Martina Anderson MEP, who spoke at the convention, described the candidates as “a super team for a super council” and predicted that Sinn Féin would be the largest party on the new council.
“We have a super team of 21 candidates who will bring a range of experience into this election. What the inclusion of Strabane brings us is an opportunity that we have never had before. For us in Derry it is a gift. Without Strabane it was going to be difficult for us in Derry but with Strabane we will be looking to move Sinn Féin into a dominant position on the new council,” she said.
Ms Anderson also paid tribute to Lynn Fleming and wished her successor well. “Lynn spent many Saturday nights in our house when she was younger and she was like the eighth sister.
“When I first met Bridget Meehan it was clear that she was a leader. She will bring many qualities to her new role and the Council team will be enriched as a result,” she said.
The election will be held in May 2014 on the same day as the European Parliament elections. Ms Anderson has been selected as the party’s candidate for the European poll.