Northern Ireland news

Portadown schoolboy standing in council election

Election posters for Sinn Féin candidate Callum Ó Dufaigh in the Drumcree area of Portadown. Picture by Mark Marlow
Mairead Holland

HE is still a schoolboy but Callum Ó Dufaigh has more on his mind than books and exams at the moment.

At 18, the A-level student from Portadown is the youngest of the 155 candidates Sinn Féin is fielding in next month's council elections.

Another teenager, 19-year-old Murdoch McKibbin from Newtownards, is also standing in the Ards Peninsula.

The minimum age at which candidates can run for election is 18 years.

Mr Ó Dufaigh, a pupil at the Irish-medium unit at St Catherine's College in Armagh where he is studying politics, Irish and hospitality, is hoping to be a third generation councillor in the Portadown ward.

His dad Paul Duffy is already a Sinn Féin councillor on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and his grandfather Joe served on the old Craigavon council in the late 1990s.

He said: "I joined Sinn Féin when I was 16, as early as I could. There are not that many young people involved in politics and there needs to be more."

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As a Gaeilgeoir, the teenager said he wants to see more support and recognition of the Irish language and also believes there should be more facilities for young people.

He is also keen to raise the issue of disability as he has had mobility issues since he was born.

"I was never able to join in with the sports at the youth club but there was nowhere else to go instead," he said.

"Some people have commented that I am quite young but I am 18, I am an adult and I represent young people. My friends and people who know me have been very supportive."

Mr Ó Dufaigh is up against 12 other candidates in the Portadown ward - including his dad - vying for its six council seats.

He is also hoping to study for a degree in politics at the University of Ulster.

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