WHEN Strabane man Daniel McCrossan takes his seat at Stormont in January he will become one of almost two dozen MLAs not elected into the post by the public.
Legislation introduced in 2010 allows parties to replace outgoing Assembly members with an individual of their choice.
In Daniel McCrossan’s case, he is replacing Joe Byrne who is retiring due to ailing health.
Figures unearthed by investigative outlet The Detail show that approximately one in five of the North’s 108 MLAs who will finish the current five year Assembly term were put there by their parties rather than the electorate.
In an almost identical scenario to Daniel McCrossan, Derry City and Strabane District Council member Gerard Diver, also of the SDLP, is stepping up to the Assembly. Again though he is moving via the ‘co-option’ mechanism rather than through an election. He is replacing veteran politician Pat Ramsey.
Since Derry City and Strabane District Council came into being in April, there has already been a number of shuffles of the pack through co-option.
Independent member Dermot Quigley departed in September with Warren Robinson co-opted into his seat.
Meanwhile the DUP’s Graham Warke has taken over from Gary Middleton who was co-opted to the Assembly when Maurice Devenney stepped back down to council level.
On the old Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle was co-opted on in 2008 following the death of Ivan Barr. In the same year Ruairí McHugh was co-opted on to the local townhall body, filling the vacancy left following the death of his father, Charlie McHugh.
Posted: 8:30 pm December 29, 2015