13 January 2000 Edition

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Successful Derry co-option

Sinn Féin in Derry has successfully co-opted Gerry MacLochlainn onto the city council to replace Assembly member and party chair Mitchel McLaughlin.

Creggan-born MacLochlainn was proposed to replace McLaughlin by Sinn Féin's Cathal Crumley and the nomination was seconded by fellow party member Peter Anderson.

The nomination was supported by the SDLP and no opposition was offered by unionist politicians. The DUP's Gregory Campbell said: ``We decided that it would be pointless to oppose it because Sinn Féin would have won a by-election with a majority in that area anyway.''

MacLochlainn (45) was formerly the voice of Sinn Féin in London and was a tireless campaigner on behalf of the Guildford Four. Speaking about his appointment, MacLochlainn said: ``It's great in some ways and daunting in others. I am confident that with the professional team Sinn Féin have I can deliver in the council for the city-side.

``I have been involved in community work in London, with the Irish and members of the black and Asian communities. Now, as a public representative in Derry, I consider it an honour and a privilege to return what I have gained from this city.''

He acknowledged that the Creggan, Bogside and Brandywell areas are some of the most economically and socially deprived areas in Europe and pledged his commitment to getting better services into those communities.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1