Ahern endorses Independent in SF-controlled South Armagh
Bertie Ahern has endorsed a South Armagh Independent candidate in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Northern Ireland.
The candidate is Martin McAllister, a former republican prisoner who is campaigning against health cuts and for jobs promotion in an area that has been under the control of Sinn Fein for decades.
Mr McAllister, has been called the 'Conscience of South Armagh' for his stand on community issues, including the damage done to the local environment by the massive dumping of toxic fuel waste by IRA fuel smugglers.
His nomination papers were signed by, among others, two local GPs in Crossmaglen, Dr Pat Fee, nephew of the late Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, and Dr Mary Allen. The local GP service, like many practices around the North, has been severely constricted by health cuts introduced by the Northern Executive.
Mr Ahern's endorsement describes Mr McAllister as a "great political activist and a true supporter of the potential of the Good Friday Agreement".
He added: "I have always been impressed by your community work in Crossmaglen and across South Armagh."
Mr McAllister said that he is running purely on local issues in a constituency that has the worst rural deprivation in Northern Ireland and has suffered from health cuts.
He was a close friend of the Good Friday Agreement author - and fellow Crossmaglen man - Paddy O'Hanlon.