Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has spoken of his delight following the selection of Arlene Foster MLA as the new DUP Leader.
Mr Irwin who was part of the delegation of DUP representatives who concluded the selection process, wished the new Leader well and pledged his “total and unwavering support” for her as she took on the Leadership role.
Mrs Foster who is the first female Leader of the DUP is also due to take on the role of First Minister in January when the Assembly resumes following the Christmas recess.
Mr Irwin said it was a special moment in the Party history stating: “I want to publicly offer Arlene Foster MLA my warmest congratulations on her elevation to Leader of our Party.
“It is a tremendous achievement for her and of course it stems from her years of hard work representing the public. Arlene’s sole nomination and unanimous selection as Leader proves just how highly she is regarded within the Party.”
He added: “Arlene has had very real experiences of the direct effects of republican terrorism which impacted her and her family personally. Despite these deeply traumatic experiences, what is clear is her absolute desire to see Northern Ireland move forward and grow economically and socially as a strong and integral part of the United Kingdom.”
He said: “I very much look forward to getting back to the Assembly after the Christmas recess when Arlene will also be installed as First Minister of Northern Ireland, another incredible achievement for her.”
He concluded: “Many people I have spoken to are delighted with this development and indeed many have asked that I pass on their warmest regards to Arlene. I know Arlene is really humbled by the support she has been shown, even in the past few days and I know she will be a strong and consistent leader, with the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland at heart. I assure her of my total and unwavering support as she commences these important roles within our Party and the Northern Ireland Assembly.”