Sinn Fein boss Mary Lou McDonald heaps praise upon Martina Anderson after forcing ex-IRA member out of seat

The president of Sinn Fein has praised Martina Anderson after the long-time Londonderry MLA was effectively forced to step aside from her role.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 7:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 10:39 am
Martina Anderson pictured with Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin vice president and Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald at the European election count in 2019.

Mary Lou McDonald made the comments in a press release on Tuesday, saying that both Ms Anderson and fellow Foyle MLA Karen Mullan will be “taking on new roles for the party at a national and regional level”.

There was controversy among republicans earlier this year over the treatment of Ms Anderson, a former IRA prisoner.

After it became public that the party was basically ordering her to stand down from her Stormont seat, her family issued a statement which said the decision had “crushed her” but that “we have been and remain a very proud, staunch republican family, despite feeling very hurt”.

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Yesterday, Ms McDonald said in a statement: “Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan recently confirmed that they would not be contesting the next Assembly elections in 2022.

“Karen and Martina have now told me it is their intention to step away from the Assembly before the beginning of the new term, which starts on September 13.

“They will continue to play a leading role in the development of the party nationally and at regional level in the north west.

“Martina Anderson will be taking on a new international role for the party in Europe promoting the case for Irish Unity.

“Martina will draw off her vast experience as a former Executive minister, and MEP, where she helped lead the fight against Brexit to ensure that the all-island economy and Good Friday Agreement would be protected and there would be no hardening of the border.”

The procedures to select replacements for the two Foyle MLAs will begin this week.

Nominations are open until September 5.

The statement from Sinn Fein also included remarks from Martina Anderson.

They read: “It has been a privilege being a Sinn Féin elected representative for the last 14 years. I thank all of those who put their trust in me to represent them as an MEP and an MLA.

“It is equally a privilege being a Sinn Féin activist and a member of the National Officer Board tasked with an international responsibility to help secure support for a unity referendum.

“I decided to take up my new role immediately to give the newly selected candidates an opportunity to establish themselves as public representatives in advance of the next Assembly election.

“This is a period of huge change and opportunity for the party, for our Irish unity platform and I’m looking forward to taking on my new role and a fresh challenge.

“Like everything I have done I will give it my all to achieve the reunification of Ireland so the people of this island can have a future together within the EU.”

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