Northern Ireland news

SDLP's Daniel McCrossan to open pub in Strabane with Eurovision singer Ryan Dolan

Former Eurovision singer Ryan Dolan with SDLP assembly member Daniel McCrossan
Brendan Hughes

AN SDLP assembly member and a former Eurovision singer are opening a pub in Co Tyrone.

West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan is launching The Railway Bar and Lounge in Strabane with performer Ryan Dolan.

They have set up a hospitality company as co-directors and their pub premises is undergoing a refit ahead of a grand opening.

Mr McCrossan is the SDLP's Westminster election candidate for West Tyrone and is also the party's Brexit spokesperson.

The SDLP said that while he "is involved in other projects" he remains "totally committed to the people of West Tyrone".

The Railway Bar replaces the old Sweeno McGintys pub on Railway Street in the town.

Images posted on its Facebook page show the refurbishment work under way, which they hope will give the bar "relaxing, cosy and fresh new surroundings".

No date has been set for its launch, but the pub is in the process of recruiting bar and floor staff.

In a message on the page, Mr McCrossan and Mr Dolan said: "Thank you for the many messages of support, well wishes and many suggestions.

"We are looking forward to seeing you soon."

Mr Dolan (34) represented Ireland at Eurovision in 2013 with the song Only Love Survives.

He progressed through the semi-finals of the annual song contest, but came last in the final with just five points.

In April, the pair set up a publicly registered company called White Strand Investments with an address at a domestic property in Strabane.

It has been recorded in Mr McCrossan's MLA register of interests, where it is described as a "hospitality business".

The venture emerges as Mr McCrossan in September returned to university part-time amid Stormont's continued absence to study a postgraduate business course.

The 31-year-old law graduate is studying a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Queen's University Belfast.

The West Tyrone representative said he believes the two-year course will help him "up-skill" to better represent his constituents.

He said it "won't in any way affect my duties and obligations as an MLA".

The north has not had a fully functioning devolved assembly since power-sharing collapsed in early 2017, and since then several MLAs have moved to other roles.

Ex-DUP minister Simon Hamilton left politics to become chief executive of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, while Sinn Féin's Michaela Boyle gave up her West Tyrone assembly seat after being elected to Derry and Strabane council.

Former Green Party leader Steven Agnew also stood down as a North Down MLA to head a renewables industry organisation.

An SDLP spokesman said: "Daniel McCrossan is a full-time MLA, working seven days a week and available to constituents in his office Monday to Friday.

"Mr McCrossan is involved in other projects but is totally committed to the people of West Tyrone and the very busy local services he provides for his constituents."

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