Quinn confirmed as SDLP candidate

THE chairman of Cookstown council has been confirmed as the SDLP's candidate in Mid-Ulster for the upcoming election.

Tony Quinn was the unanimous choice of the constituency party selection convention to stand against sitting MP Martin McGuinness.

He faces an uphill task to take the seat off Sinn Fein, with the party finishing almost 14,000 votes ahead of the SDLP at the last election.

The 2005 candidate, Patsy McGlone, is not standing because of the party's commitment to phase out double-jobbing.

Speaking after last Monday's meeting, Mr Quinn said he was honoured to have been selected as the party's candidate.

Mr McGuinness, along with the four other Sinn Fein MPs, refuses to take his seat at Westminster.

However, Mr Quinn said it was vital the people of Mid-Ulster are represented in Parliament.

"With the identity of the next UK government in the balance, it is vital that every constituency has their voice heard at Westminster," he said.

"It makes no sense to be half in and half out of the democratic process.

"Refusing to represent the people in Parliament is an ideological position that is well past its sell-by date."