Sinn Fein will field their first African candidate, Congolese native Edmond Lukusa, in next year's local elections.
Lukusa, who has been an Irish citizen since 2007 and joined the party shortly after, will join local representative Paul Donnelly on the ballot in the Mulhuddart ward next year, TheJournal.ie reports.
Lukasa, a member of the opposition Union for Democracy & Social Progress in his homeland, said that Sinn Fein's republican ideology was not difficult to identify with but, that was not the driving force that made him decide to join the party.
"I made the decision to join Sinn Fein six years ago believing, as I still do, that they are the only party out there standing up for ordinary citizens."
He believes his experience and skills developed back home will help him.
“I have experience in a number of diverse projects and community organizations and I have developed skills and knowledge in politics whilst I was member of the UDPS political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Séamus Hazlett of Sinn Fein says that Lukusa was picked for the ballot because of his work on the ground and his knowledge of the area.
Said running-mate Paul Donnelly: “Edmond’s selection is reflective of how diverse this constituency is. I am looking forward to hitting the doors with him and I am pretty confident we can win two seats.”
Says Lukasa: "I am running in this election to win. It’s game on."
Although Lukasa is the first African candidate for Sinn Fein, both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael fielded African-born candidates in 2009: Idowu Olfimihan and Adeola Ogunsina, respectively. There was also an Independent, Iggy Okafor, who was born in Nigeria.
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