I fully believe John can become the first Nationalist MP ever in North Belfast - Kelly
I am delighted and proud to be nominating John as our candidate in this election.
He will be speaking for himself in a couple of minutes so I will try to be brief.
Some weeks ago in an internal Sinn Féin Conference in Dublin, Gerry Adams spoke about how we should manage generational change and how we should do it as part of the party moving forward strategically.
Part of that was to be Martin McGuinness standing down this month and Michelle O’Neill taking his place. Unfortunately, Martin’s illness and untimely death moved that forward.
North Belfast believes in leading from the front. This initiative is a step change in moving positively forward. We could have not asked for a better candidate than John Finucane as a brand new face to lead us into the upcoming Westminster election.
We have a Sinn Féin team in North Belfast which is second to none.
We have hard-working activists whether they be elected reps or other party members.
We have led the field in maintaining gender balance in our elected reps since the 1990s.
We have tried to maintain an age balance.
We also have a wealth of hard-working, young, intelligent activists who will be our future.
He and his family have felt the cruel effects of the conflict. John is not new to campaigning. He and his family have stood firm and brave in the face of governmental opposition to truth.
As a human rights lawyer he knows, in practice what it means to reach out to the whole community and indeed to represent their interests whoever they might be and from whatever part of the community they might hail from.
While his family are no strangers to taking brave steps I want to thank him personally and on behalf of Sinn Féin in North Belfast for taking the courageous step into continuing his work of public representation into the political arena.
He is also used to wearing a suit to work every day-which might help!
In Westminster terms we brought out or best vote ever in 2015.
It is my belief that John, with the help of all of us here tonight, can substantially increase that vote and become the first Nationalist MP ever in North Belfast.
Myself and Carál Ní Chuilín enthusiastically endorse John as candidate, as do the rest of the North Belfast team.
We did an activist meeting last night and the enthusiasm in the packed room was uplifting to say the least.
I want to thank all those who put a massive effort into the Assembly election recently which got myself and Carál elected as MLAs.
We have already been on the doors and the momentum from the election in March is still there in abundance.
John’s decision to run has increased that momentum. It still needs, as always, hard work but there is no one in this room who is work shy.
Let’s go out and get him elected.