SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA said he is delighted Máiría Cahill has decided to make the SDLP her political home.

The West Belfast woman, a former Labour politician and Republican Network for Unity (RNU) member has been co-opted onto Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to represent the Killultagh DEA, she will replace former councilor Christine Robb who recently stepped down.

In 2010 Máiría Cahill went public with her claim that republicans covered up her alleged rape by an IRA member.

Following the announcement Mr Eastwood said:

“Máiría Cahill has an extremely strong record of speaking out against injustice, maltreatment and inequality; we are confident that her attributes are best placed to compliment the values and vision of the SDLP, and we are delighted she has decided to make the SDLP her political home.

“Politics is too often sadly missing brave voices to call out right from wrong. The SDLP has always taken uncomfortable steps to deliver a fair and just society, and I am confident Máiría will play a prolific part in continuing to practice the politics others merely preach, by speaking truth to power.”

The MLA for Lagan Valley Pat Catney added: “The addition of Máiría Cahill to Lagan Valley SDLP is fantastic.

“Máiría will be an excellent asset to an already very able council group and I very much look forward to working alongside her in the time ahead.”