Political news

Sinn Féin's Cathal McLaughlin co-opted on to Causeway council seat

Cathal McLaughlin, left, with MLAs Michelle O'Neill and Philip McGuigan 

A VETERAN Sinn Féin member has been co-opted to replace new North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan on Causeway Coast and Glens Council.

Cathal McLaughlin, who previously served as a councillor on Ballymoney Borough Council, was selected at a convention on Monday night.

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O'Neill announced Mr McLaughlin as the new North Antrim councillor.

"It is a honour to be selected to represent the people of North Antrim as a councillor," he said.

"I will aim to build on the good work of Philip McGuigan and work for the people of North Antrim and across the constituency."

The selection comes after Mr McGuigan was co-opted to fill colleague Daithi McKay's assembly seat following his resignation.

Mr McKay resigned last month hours after The Irish News revealed he had secretly coached Jamie Bryson ahead of the loyalist blogger giving evidence last September at Stormont's inquiry into the £1.24 billion sale of Nama's northern loan book.

Sinn Féin has insisted Mr McKay and fellow party worker Thomas O'Hara made contact with Mr Bryson without the knowledge of the leadership.

However following Mr McKay's departure, the party was hit by the mass resignation of more than a dozen of its members in North Antrim.

The 18 people who resigned included councillor Paul Maguire, a member of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and an ex-chairman of Sinn Féin in North Antrim, and former councillor Monica Digney, who was the first Sinn Féin member to be elected to Ballymena Council.


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