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Date set for West Tyrone by-election, five months after McElduff resignation

The news comes five months after Mr McElduff resigned his seat. Picture by Niall Carson, PA Wire
Andrew Madden

A DATE has been set for the Westminster by-election triggered by the resignation of Sinn Féin's Barry McElduff.

The West Tyrone poll will take place on May 3 and comes five months after Mr McElduff resigned his seat after he published a video of himself with a Kingsmill loaf on his head.

It was posted on social media on the anniversary of the murders of ten Protestant workmen by the IRA in Kingsmills, Co Armagh.

The former MP was initially suspended by Sinn Féin, but he subsequently resigned from his seat as the public pressure on him to do so mounted.

Sinn Féin have selected Órfhlaith Begley (26), the daughter of long-serving Sinn Féin councillor Seán Begley, as its candidate for the by-election.

Other candidates for the seat have yet to be revealed.

A DUP spokesperson said the party is "aware of the forthcoming by-election and will have further comment to make in due course".

In a statement, Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann called for a non-partisan candidate to contest the seat.

He said: “When Barry McElduff resigned in January I stated that, given the hurt caused to victims by the contempt and disrespect demonstrated by members of Sinn Féin, the resulting by-election should provide them with a voice, and ideally see a non-partisan candidate, who could gain cross community support...I am still of that firm belief."

The SDLP has not selected a candidate yet, but Daniel McCrossan, who contested the seat last year, said a candidate will be ratified before the party's conference this month.

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