Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ar aghaidh linn..............

Tuesday night saw me leave the Slugger O Toole Awards and head over to the Chinese Welfare Association's brilliant new centre on the Ormeau Road.

Party activists from across our Comhairle Ceantair area had gathered to select their nominee's for the next Westminster election.

Alex Maskey was the only name in the hat for south Belfast and mine for the east of the city.

Gerry Kelly was our guest speaker, he was joined by Vincent Parker our party rep in Balmoral who chaired proceedings and Mary McArdle from Sinn Féin Cúige Uladh who oversaw proceedings.

East Béal Feirste was up first and I was nominated and seconded from the body gathered in the hall. I was asked to come forward and sign the Sinn Féin candidate pledge and say a cúpla focal. I won't bore readers of the blog but I think it's fair to say what I covered on Tuesday evening will be covered by this blog over the coming weeks and months. Thanks to Kells for his kind words also. Next up was the south of the city, naturally enough Alex was nominated unopposed and endorsed fully by the body of the hall.

Alex also signed the Sinn Féin candidate pledge and said his piece.

This will be the second time my name has found its way onto a ballot paper for Sinn Féin and it truly is an honour to be selected by friends and comrades from different generations and different experiences of the republican struggle. It is a very humbling thing to have them entrust me with representing the party in any election. Go raibh míle maith agaibh, is cúis bróid domhsa é.

The reality is, as Alec said on the night, that no one candidate can operate in isolation, and while we in south and east don't have the same amount of people as the north and west of the city I think its fair to say we are truly punching above our weight and that is down to the standard of activists we are lucky to have.

From people in the hall who are approaching their sixties and have been involved in the republican movement their whole lives, to those who were there who are much much younger, but are just as committed and just as determined to advance our republican objectives.

On another personal level, it's an honour for me to be selected alongside someone as respected as Alex, who is a true leader within our party, its humbling to watch him and to learn from him and for me, who better to learn from. He is a friend and a comrade and I wish him all the best in the time ahead.

Go neirí linn!

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