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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:30 GMT
SDLP member 'being forced out'
Mark Durkan is one of the SDLP's Foyle candidates
Mark Durkan is one of the SDLP's Foyle candidates
An SDLP assembly member has accused members of her party of trying to force her out of the assembly elections.

The SDLP is expected to decide this week on their final team for the election in Foyle.

Sitting assembly member John Tierney has already withdrawn from the contest.

However, Annie Courtney - who was selected as a candidate - said she would not be forced out.

If I am not ratified I will have to reconsider my position in the party and on Derry City Council
Annie Courtney

She said she may have to consider her position if the party leadership refused to confirm her as a candidate.

"Despite having been selected in September, I have not yet been ratified as a candidate," she said.

"I have not been given any official reason, other than the party could not run two candidates from the same street which applied to two of my running mates.

"As far as I am aware I am the only person selected by the SDLP in Foyle who hasn't been ratified. I am not confident I will be a candidate but am not prepared to step aside.

"If I am not ratified I will have to reconsider my position in the party and on Derry City Council."

'Personal reasons'

Mrs Courtney replaced former SDLP leader John Hume in the assembly when he retired in December 2000.

She was one of four candidates selected to run in Foyle by the SDLP. The others are Mr Tierney, party leader Mark Durkan and Pat Ramsey, who is the Mayor of Derry.

However, the SDLP said John Tierney would be standing aside and would be replaced as a candidate by councillor Mary Bradley.

Mrs Courtney said this move also put her candidacy in doubt.

Meanwhile, the party's South Down MP, Eddie McGrady, announced on Tuesday that he would not be contesting the assembly election for personal reasons.

Last September, SDLP deputy leader Brid Rodgers said she would leave the assembly at the next election.

Mrs Rodgers said she would not contest her Upper Bann seat again because she wanted to spend more time with her family.





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SEE ALSO:
Rodgers to leave assembly
17 Sep 02 |  Northern Ireland
Durkan is elected SDLP leader
11 Nov 01 |  Northern Ireland
SDLP debates party overhaul
24 Jun 00 |  Northern Ireland


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