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Clare Bailey chosen as new Green Party leader in Northern Ireland

South Belfast MLA Clare Bailey, the Green Party's new leader
Brendan Hughes

CLARE Bailey has been selected as the new leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

The South Belfast MLA succeeds Steven Agnew, who was party leader for seven years and announced in July his intention to step down from the role.

Mr Agnew will continue in his elected position as a Green Party assembly member for North Down.

Ms Bailey, who was chosen after her nomination went unopposed, said she was "delighted" to become the party's new leader.

She said the Green Party has a "buoyant and dynamic membership" who are "committed to taking on the challenges of our time".

"The challenges are significant and serious – we have a government in denial about climate breakdown," Ms Bailey said.

"Brexit looms large over all of us while the politicians of the past have failed to give us a voice.

"And, across Northern Ireland, certain citizens are denied the rights that others take for granted.

"The Green Party is the only party willing and able to tackle these issues."

Ms Bailey takes on the role just over a year after deciding to step down as deputy leader after holding the post for three years.

At the time Ms Bailey said she was a "a busy South Belfast MLA" and it was right to "step aside and allow another person to develop the role of deputy leader".

Tanya Jones took on the role but announced in May she was stepping down to study environmental law at the University of Dundee.

A party spokeswoman said they are "not in active search for a deputy leader at present".

Ms Bailey (48), an MLA since 2016, is originally from the Clonard area of west Belfast and has lived in the south of the city most of her adult life.

She also paid tribute to her predecessor Mr Agnew, saying he has "immeasurably developed the party during his time as leader".

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