Son of Olympian and community worker on 4 man Sinn Féin ticket

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The son of the late Derry Olympian, Neil McLaughlin, and a well-known community worker from Galliagh, are set to be endorsed by Sinn Féin as new faces on a four candidate ticket for next year’s Council elections to the Ballyarnett District Electoral Area (DEA).

Galliagh youth worker, Aileen Mellon, and Shantallow tour guide, Neil McLaughlin Jnr. are expected to be endorsed alongside Sinn Féin group leader, Sandra Duffy, and sitting councillor, Caoimhe McKnight, on Saturday.

It will be the first time since the 2005 election to the old Shantallow five-seater that Sinn Féin has fielded four candidates in the area. In next May’s election to Ballyarnett, a DEA which returns six councillors, the party will be seeking to build on Colr. Duffy’s poll-topping peformance of 2014.

Ms. Mellon has already been selected for co-option to the Council to replace Conchúr McCauley for the remainder of the current mandate.

“I am delighted to be selected from the Dale Moore Cumann to represent the greater Shantallow area in DC&SDC,” she told the ‘Journal’.

“It is an exciting time for women in politics and I am looking forward to playing my part in creating a new and inclusive Ireland. Being born and bred in the area I have a real passion for the development of the community and its people.

“It’s great to see the housing developments, plans for various new centres and the progression of the new build at Leafair. Having been working with the youth and community over the past 12 years I am aware of needs of the area. It is a challenge that I personally am excited for.”

Mr. McLaughlin works as a part time taxi tour guide and is the son of the late Neil McLaughlin Snr., the Derry flyweight who reached the quarter-finals of the Munich Olympics in 1972.

“I believe that my late father Neil would be proud as is my mother Margo, both of whom were involved in political activities all their lives. This meant being raised in a very politically aware home.

“I am very honoured to have been asked to stand.”