Michelle O’Neill with Sinn Féin female MLA’s including former World and All-Ireland Handball champion Aisling Reilly, left.

Women a Majority of SF Assembly Team

Over half of Sinn Féin MLA’s in the Northern Ireland Assembly are women.

Last week former All-Ireland and World Handball Champion Aisling Reilly was co-opted onto the Sinn Féin Assembly team, taking over from West Belfast MLA Fra McCann, who has retired from frontline politics after first being elected to Stormont in 2003.

Sinn Féin Vice-President and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill welcomed Reilly to the party’s Assembly team and said her arrival is an important milestone as over fifty percent of Sinn Féin MLA’s are now women. 

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Speaking after Reilly took up office, the Sinn Féin vice-president said: “Today, we officially welcomed our newest MLA for West Belfast, Aisling Reilly to the Assembly. 

“And this represents an important milestone, not only for our party and the wider Assembly, but for equality across these islands.

“Over fifty percent of Sinn Féin MLAs in the Assembly are now women. I think that’s hugely significant and a first across these islands when it comes to women’s representation in politics."

O'Neill expressed her pride at the women on her team.

“I’m extremely proud of all these women who have stepped forward to deliver on the issues that matter to ordinary people, be it jobs, housing, mental health services and rights or a new future in a united Ireland," she continued. 

“Public life can be very challenging, particularly in the face of very nasty online abuse and trolling which I’m sure a lot of us have experienced. But these women are leading the way.

"I think that’s a very strong message that we are living in a changing society, and we still have much more to do to fully achieve equal representation. Sinn Féin are committed to delivering that.”