O’Dowd to run with Seeley at Assembly poll

Sinn Fein candidates John O'Dowd and Catherine Seeley flanked by other members of the party in Upper Bann.
Sinn Fein candidates John O'Dowd and Catherine Seeley flanked by other members of the party in Upper Bann.

Sinn Fein are running two candidates in next year’s Assembly elections as they bid to wrestle an extra seat back from unionism.

John O’Dowd, the current Minister for Education, and Catherine Seeley, the party’s Westminster candidate, will be the two names on the ballot paper.

Mr O’Dowd topped the poll in the last Assembly election, and Ms Seeley earned Sinn Féin’s highest ever vote in the constituency back in May’s Westminster election.

Sinn Fein say the two high-profile candidates will give them the best chance of winning the extra seat.

Mr O’Dowd is a sitting MLA, but the party narrowly missed out on a second seat in the last Assembly poll.

“I am very pleased to announce that Sinn Féin will be running two candidates in the next Assembly election in Upper Bann. I am honoured to have been one of those selected, along with my colleague Catherine Seeley,” said Mr O’Dowd.

“Sinn Féin have a realistic project in this constituency to maximise progressive representation based on equality for all.

“I firmly believe only the election of two Sinn Féin candidates in Upper Bann can make a real, progressive impact; as we face in to a difficult, but important, battle against the British Government’s austerity agenda. An agenda that it is aimed not only aimed at the most vulnerable and poorest in our society but also at struggling, working families. Austerity is not working, we need strong voices to stand up against it.”

Ms Seeley stressed that she is also opposed to the austerity cuts.

“Austerity is an attack on our society, and on all sections of our society. In the last Assembly term SF had 29 seats, just one short of the 30 seat mark required to avail of the Petition of Concern mechanism. A mechanism that can stop legislation not based on equality or aimed to serve the few. Huge political importance lies with the gaining of more seats to reach this mark, not least as we stand up to the austerity agenda.”