27/02/2003

Courtney fails to win SDLP nomination after 'sham' meeting

The SDLP's Foyle assembly member, Annie Courtney, is considering her position after she failed to win selection for this May's assembly elections.

Mrs Courtney could yet stand as an independent in the area after last night's branch meeting in which she was effectively deselected. Councillor Gerard Driver replaces Mrs Courtney on the party's election ticket – along with SDLP leader Mark Durkan, Pat Ramsay and Mary Bradley.

Mrs Courtney described the events as "a sham and a farce" and said that she would consider standing as an independent for the election. She is also considering her position on Derry City Council – a council of which she was an SDLP mayor from 1993-1994.

The SDLP has received flak from other party members over their three 'Gs' guidelines for selection – gender, generation and geography. Assembly member John Tierney has withdrawn from the party ticket and has expressed his dissatisfaction with the system.

Annie Courtney is, according to the party's website, a representative of "longstanding" and has held a number of civic positions - including deputy mayor and mayor of Derry in 1993 and 1994. After taking over John Hume's seat in 2000, Mrs Courtney was a member of the Stormont Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Health and Social Services Committee and Committee of the Centre.

She was member of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (1994-2000), Fisheries Conservancy Board (1994-2000), Western Health and Social Services Board (1985-1991), St Columb's Park Reconciliation Trust, (1994-present).

(GMcG)

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