Derry & Strabane Councillor and Deputy Mayor, Cara Hunter, will take up new position in Stormont after being selected as the East Londonderry MLA following the passing of John Dallat earlier this month.
Mr Dallat died following an illness, but had continued to work while still receiving treatment.
Speaking following the announcement, the new MLA Cara Hunter said: “It is an incredible honour to be selected to represent the people of East Derry and to follow in the footsteps of someone like John Dallat. John dedicated his life to public service and I know just how much he loved representing people here. I hope that I can continue that tradition of being a champion for everyone in East Derry.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for people, businesses and communities here. The impact of the coronavirus has been immense, it has caused pain for us all and it has underscored how little the things that divide us actually matter. This virus doesn’t see a difference between people in Coleraine or Kilrea, and neither should we. We all have to unite and come together as one community to keep each other safe.
“I am passionate about the power of politics to change people’s lives. Whether it’s changing how we talk about and deliver mental health services, or how we fight the climate crisis in a way that supports jobs and creates a healthier society. And, of course, how we stimulate new investment in skills and jobs for people in East Derry to provide everyone with the opportunity to succeed.
In conclusion Ms Hunter said: “It is an immense honour to represent people in East Derry. I won’t let them down.”
The SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood Spoke of his delight on the newest MLA to join the Assembly, saying: “I’m delighted that Cara Hunter will be the new MLA for East Derry, building on the lifetime of dedicated service John Dallat gave to people here.
“Cara is a part of the new generation of SDLP activists stepping up to make a difference in their communities and we’re excited to see the change she can help inspire as a member of the Assembly.”