Pat Doherty will not contest election for Sinn Féin

Updated / Wednesday, 3 May 2017 21:02

Pat Doherty, 71, first won the West Tyrone seat in 2001

In another indication of a generational shift within Sinn Féin, outgoing West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty tonight announced his retirement from the role.

50-year-old Assembly member Barry McElduff will be the party's candidate in next month's election.

Mr Doherty, 71, first won the West Tyrone seat in 2001 and has retained it in the three Westminster elections since then. 

Born in Glasgow, he was an influential member of the republican movement at the time of the IRA ceasefire in 1994 and served as a vice president of Sinn Féin for a 21-year period up to 2009. 

He lives near Carraig Airt in north Donegal.

Yesterday Sinn Féin confirmed that 37-year-old John Finucane, a son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane, will be the party's candidate in the North Belfast Westminster constituency. 

He will be challenging the outgoing DUP deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, who has held the seat since 2001. 

64-year-old Gerry Kelly had been the Sinn Fein candidate in successive general elections since 1997.  He continues to be an Assembly member for North Belfast.

Mr McElduff will be expected to retain what is seen as a safe Sinn Féin West Tyrone seat. He has been an Assembly member for almost two decades.