Monday 5 December 2016

Meet Ireland's first transgender candidate to run in elections

Michael McHugh

Published 14/01/2016 | 10:19

Ellen Murray who is the first transgender candidate on the island of Ireland
Ellen Murray who is the first transgender candidate on the island of Ireland

The first transgender candidate on the island of Ireland is to stand for election to Stormont.

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Activist Ellen Murray, 22, will run for the Green Party in West Belfast in May's Assembly poll.

Ms Murray promised to give a voice to women, young people and the LGBT and gay community.

"I am standing for election because I believe that our political system, which impinges on every aspect of our lives, should be accessible to everyone."

This is the first time an openly transgender candidate has run in Northern Ireland or the Republic.

Ms Murray added: "Almost two decades after the Good Friday Agreement, West Belfast is still one of the most deprived and disadvantaged areas in Western Europe, in part due to the wasteful zero sum politics at Stormont by the Executive parties.

"The Fresh Start agreement has exacerbated this by cutting welfare and benefits while gifting tax cuts to corporations, something which, as a social justice campaigner, I strongly oppose."

She has spent years working with marginalised young people. Better access to transgender healthcare, creating sustainable transport are among her causes.

"I will support campaigns to introduce abortion law reform, and provide LGBTQ people with equal rights and respect under the law.

"I will work to ensure that the health service is given the support it needs, especially in mental healthcare. I will also press to develop a kinder and more compassionate welfare state to ensure a comfortable and dignified life for everyone.

"I aim to address the transport poverty experienced by many within the constituency, and enable people to travel safely and cheaply throughout Belfast via public transport, walking and cycling."

West Belfast is a Sinn Fein citadel but has a history of unorthodox candidates, campaigning on issues from water charges to socialism.

At last year's Westminster election, People Before Profit campaigner Gerry Carroll garnered almost 7,000 votes and pushed SDLP candidate Alex Attwood, whose party once held the seat, into third place.

Green Party leader in Northern Ireland Steven Agnew said Ms Murray was a fantastic campaigner.

"I am proud to be part of a party that is open and welcoming to all, culminating in Ellen's selection by the grassroots membership in West Belfast."

Press Association

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