i have to say that I am personally sorry to hear that Pat Ramsey is standing down from the Assembly. A genuinely decent guy.
SDLP man to the core. He will be a hard man to replace in part because he transcended party politics.
With a lot of SDLP talent in Derry, there will likelybe a few hats in the ring. The constituency is of course “Foyle” and is more or less the City of Derry and some rural areas.
In 2011, four candidates were run in the expectaion of holding three seats. Three seats were held…Pat Ramsey holding his seat but Pól O’Callaghan lost his seat to which he had been co-opted to replace Mark Durkan MP.
Two new SDLP people were elected in 2011…Colum Eastwood and Mark H Durkan (nephew of Mark).
There is more talent in Derry than the actual opportunities available…Brian Tierney, Martin Reilly, Gerard Diver to name a few. Ronan McCay is the new SDLP Chair.
I dont know enough about the logistics in Derry…but there is bound to be some kinda geographic balance between branches such as Northland, Waterside and others which would give three candidates an area for vote management purposes.
While I dont believe in quotas based on gender…I am a firm believer in the best man or woman for the job…but I think it likely that the third candidate will be a woman. It is NOT about “optics”.
That means (most likely) a person who has been a councillor or senior staffer. I am always reluctant to name people (staffers) who have no public profile and largely unknown outside SDLP circles.
Allowing for all things being equal in terms of location and availability…I would go for Brenda Stevenson, who was an excellent Mayor of Derry. Its also genetic…she is a Hume.
This is not a prediction of course. Merely an opinion. But if I am right….expect me to mention it. If I am wrong….well Id thank you not to mention it.
But this is the Future. For today, it is only right to pay tribute to Pat Ramsey.