Local Election 2019

John Finucane says his father 'in my thoughts' as he's elected to Belfast City Council

 Sinn Fein's John Finucane celebrating with party colleague Mary Ellen Campbell during the local government election count at Belfast City Hall. Picture by Mark Marlow/PA Wire
Rebecca Black, Press Association

The son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has said his father was in his thoughts as his election to Belfast City Council was confirmed.

John Finucane was elected on the first count in the Castle district electoral area in north Belfast with 1,650 votes, just behind former lord mayor Nuala McAllister (Alliance).

He previously ran for election in the 2017 Westminster election in the North Belfast seat and won 19,159 votes, finishing second behind DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

He told the Press Association he was "absolutely delighted" with the result.

"It sounds slightly cliched but there had been a really good response over the last few weeks on the doors and the turnout was very good," he said.

"Across north Belfast, Sinn Fein have had a really excellent election."

Following in his father's footsteps, he has built a career as a solicitor in Belfast.

He said he expects the transition from law to politics to be relatively smooth, given the overlap.

"I look forward to getting stuck into the work at the city council and helping to shape Belfast over the next few years," he said.

Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalists at the age of 39 in front of his wife and three children in 1989.

John Finucane said his father was in his thoughts all day as he waited to find out if he had been elected.

He said the council is very different to how it would have been in the 1980s when his father was alive.

Belfast City Hall was then dominated by the Ulster Unionist Party with just a small number of nationalist representatives.

"I know that my father would have been here professionally in the 1980s and witnessed a very different Belfast City Council than we have today, and I think that has shown how far we have moved on as a city and in the way the city is run," he said.

"That was something that was in my mind this morning when I got up to come down here today."

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Local Election 2019

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