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fresh faces Two new Sinn Féin MLAs named for Foyle after high-profile departure of Martina Anderson

Party veteran Anderson was asked to step aside after 'poor election results'

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Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson

Sinn Féin has selected it’s two new MLAs for Foyle after high profile Sinn Féin member Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan were asked to consider their positions during a restructure of the party in May.

At the time, Ms Anderson said she would not be contesting the next assembly election, but said the party’s decision to ask her to quit her role came as “body blow”.

She has represented the party as an MEP, junior minister and MLA since 2007.

Sinn Féin said both had been asked to consider their positions after concerns were raised surrounding election results in Foyle.

Karen Mullan also released a statement after she was told to stand down as MLA tweeting: ‘I confirm that I will not be seeking a nomination to stand for @sinnfeinireland at the next Assembly Election. It has been a great privilege to represent and work for the people of Derry. I will continue to be a SF activist and I look forward to a new chapter in my life.’

The two new MLAs chosen by the party for Foyle are Pádraig Delargy and Ciara Ferguson.

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Ciara Ferguson

Ciara Ferguson

Ciara Ferguson

Mr Delargy is a primary school teacher while Ms Fersuson works as a community development worker.

They were both selected at a contest held by the party on Wednesday.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said the new pair of Foyle MLAs would "bring a great deal of experience and enthusiasm” to the party’s assembly team.

He also thanked Ms Anderson and Ms Mullan for their “hard work” on behalf of the Foyle electorate.

The move to remove Ms Anderson came as a shock to Sinn Féin party members and sent ripples through the political landscape in Northern Ireland.

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Pádraig Delargy

Pádraig Delargy

Pádraig Delargy

She was seen as one of the most high-ranking and long standing politicians within the party, and a familiar face on TV screens, frequently standing with party hierarchy during media announcements.

A former member of the IRA, she was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of terrorism offences, serving 13 years before she was released as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

After Ms Anderson was asked to stand down, her sister, Sharon Burke, posted a statement to Facebook saying her sister had been ‘humiliated’ by the party, adding the decision to remove the MLA was a ‘massive miscarriage of justice’ and ‘brutal’.

She added: ‘The British could not do to our Martina what her comrades and friends have done.’

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