Sinn Fein councillor Linda Dillon said she is nervous but delighted to be replacing Martin McGuinness as one of the party’s three Mid Ulster candidates for the assembly elections.
Currently chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Mrs Dillon was nominated for the position alongside former shadow chair Cathal Mallaghan, but won out in a vote last night.
She will now run for a Mid Ulster seat alongside party colleagues Michelle O’Neill and Ian Milne.
“I didn’t know until last night which way it was going to go - I am nervous and delighted,” she told the Mail.
“That someone nominated me for the role and selected me is a great honour.”
Asked if this is another victory for women in politics, she said: “I think it’s a good thing as there are more men than women in politics, and that is not to take away from the great men that are there.”
She said her selection will prove, not just to her own daughter, but everybody’s daughter that there is a place for women at the table and that what they have to say is equally important.
“We need to make more changes in the world of politics,” Mrs Dillon went on.
But she also commended the changing roles of men in society.
“Men are different with their families now,” she added. “They want to be part of their children’s lives.”
Acknowledging that she has some very big boots fill as she replaces the Deputy First Minister who will now run for election in Foyle, Linda added: “Martin was there last night and spoke very much about women and the role we have to play. He sees that as a positive.”