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SDLP confirm two new councillors in Armagh and Lurgan

Grainne O'Neill replaces Mealla Campbell (left) while Ciaran Toman replaces Joe Nelson

The SDLP has confirmed two new councillors following the departures of long-standing Council members just before Christmas.

Armagh woman Grainne O’Neill will replace former Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell, while Lurgan man Ciaran Toman will take over where Joe Nelson left off in the area.

The appointments have been welcomed by SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty.

Welcoming Ms O’Neill to Armagh, Mr McNulty said: “Gráinne is a formidable young lady, she is passionate about her community and is well known as a campaigner on issues such as pancreatic cancer and mental health.

“I have known Gráinne for a number of years now, and she has always struck me as caring, compassionate and principled.

“She is a strong determined young woman and I know she will go the extra mile to make a positive difference. These qualities and her personal integrity will stand her in good stead in the months and years ahead.

“I know Gráinne is hugely excited as she takes up her new role and I wish her every success as she takes her seat on Council later this week.”

SDLP Group Leader Thomas O’Hanlon also welcomed the new councillors to the SDLP Team on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council saying: “This week will see big changes with our Council team, as Gráinne O’Neill and Ciaran Toman join our council.

“Both Gráinne and Ciaran bring a breadth of experiences to the roles and I know they will be fantastic assets, not just to the SDLP Team on Council but to the communities we represent.

“In Gráinne we have an experienced community campaigner and in Ciaran an experienced political operator. Both are very welcome to our team and I look forward to working with them in the time ahead.”

Mr Toman said representing his community will be “a rewarding and privilege experience”.

“I have a strong sense of shared experience with many of the young people in my community and I have a culture awareness and an understanding of their background,” he added.

“The people from my generation are often blamed for their political apathy but the role of BREXIT and Covid has captured their attention. Young people are now more engaged than ever and locally, I hope to give them a voice on our council.

“I am looking forward to delivering on the needs of local people with our MLA Dolores Kelly and my council colleagues. I will be working hard with our entire team to deliver more for the people we represent.”

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