A unionist from Co Armagh will receive the full support of Sinn Fein in the upcoming Seanad by-election.
Sinn Fein president Mary-Lou McDonald says her party will lend its backing to Markethill farmer Ian Marshall as he aims to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Labour Senator Denis Landy.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar nominated Mr Marshall for the seat who will require support from current members of the Dáil (TDs) and senators.
The by-election is due to take place on Friday.
“I am pleased to confirm that Sinn Féin will be supporting Ian Marshall in the upcoming Seanad by-election,” said Ms McDonald.
“I have met with Ian on a number of occasions in recent weeks and I have been impressed by his views on Brexit and the potential impact Brexit will have on the island, north and south.
“I believe Ian will be a strong Independent voice in the Seanad; providing an anti-Brexit unionist perspective, which is a welcome addition to the political discourse surrounding the issue in the Oireachtas. Brexit affects people from all backgrounds and ways of life; nationalist, unionists and everyone in between.
“From his time as a farmer, as President of the Ulster Farmers Union, and his current position at Queens University, Ian is particularly qualified and experienced to advocate on behalf of farmers and the Agri-sector; which faces massive challenges in the time ahead.
“Ian is a unionist. I am an Irish Republican. As I have stated repeatedly, the Ireland I want to see is one where one can comfortably be Irish or British, both or neither. I believe Ian can bring a new and interesting voice to the discussion surrounding a new Ireland.
“I want to wish him the very best of luck when the votes are counted on Friday.”