Sinn Fein to select Ó hEára to contest Foyle seat at general election

Gear�id " hE�ra.
Gear�id " hE�ra.

Former Mayor of Derry, Gearóid Ó hEára, will contest the Foyle seat in next May’s Westminster election, the Journal understands.

Sinn Fein will make a decision over who will represent the party in the Foyle constituency race next Thursday at a special convention in the Tower Hotel.

Sinn Fein declined to comment when asked by the Journal if Mr. Ó hEára would be put forward.

According to sources, Mr. Ó hEára is the only name that has been forward to contest the election and his candidacy is expected go unopposed.

Born in 1953 Mr. O’Hara served as Mayor of Derry from 2004 to 2005 and is currently a member of the Northern Ireland Police Board; he is also an Irish language activist and current Chief Executive of Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry.

Mr. Ó hEára has a BA Hons degree in Irish Studies, a diploma in Further and Higher Education and an MBA.

Speaking to the Derry Journal yesterday afternoon, party chairperson in the city, Charles Lamberton said:

“Sinn Féin will select its Foyle Candidate to fight the Westminster election in May 2015 at a Convention of Party delegates to be held in the Tower Hotel next Thursday, October 9.

“Nominations for candidates are now open and will close 72 hours in advance of the convention at 7.30 pm on Monday October 6 2014.

“Derry Sinn Féin has an abundance of leadership talent as is evidenced by the steady growth of both party membership and the continual increase in electoral support in successive elections.

“I am looking forward to the selection of a strong candidate who will put forward an ambitious vision of job creation and delivery for the Foyle constituency and the wider North West Region.”

The SDLP’s Mark Durkan is the current MP for Foyle and has been since 2005.

The seat has been regarded as SDLP stronghold since John Hume first took the seat in 1983.

At the last general election in 2010, Mark Durkan beat Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson by over 4000 votes - it was the SDLP’s narrowest victory since the constituency was formed in 1983.