McDonnell leads 're-energised' SDLP

Published Saturday, 10 November 2012
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Alasdair McDonnell has told the SDLP party conference that a year on from his election as leader his party is stronger and re-energised.

McDonnell leads 're-energised' SDLP
Alasdair McDonnell at the SDLP party conference. (© Pacemaker)

The party leader spoke during the annual event, which is taking place at the Armagh, where SDLP member Sharon Haughey sits as the city's first ever Lord Mayor.

On Saturday, Dr McDonnell said Northern Ireland is entering a new phase of politics and that his party is rejecting what he described as the complacent and paralysed Stormont Executive.

"I am proud that we are now stronger than we've been in years and I know we will come through this new and challenging phase of politics even stronger," said the South Belfast MP.

He described the SDLP as "much stronger" than a year ago, referring to 40 new local representatives acting across Northern Ireland and added that the party hopes to regain the seat it lost in the European election in 2004.

"We are re-energised and well prepared for electoral battle again," said Dr McDonnell.

He called for a re-casting of relationships including more "dynamic relationships" with the governments in London and Dublin.

"We need a new dynamic relationship with Government in London that allows us maximum devolved control of our own economic destiny and provides us with all the tools necessary to rebalance our economy," explained Dr McDonnell.

The party leader said the SDLP will use Private Members Bills and its sole minister, Alex Attwood, and will act as a "watchdog" for the Stormont Executive.

"We are a watchdog within the Executive... And our watchdog's bite is every bit as bad as his bark," he added.

© UTV News
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8 Comments
WTF in Ards wrote (710 days ago):
As a Unionist I wouldn't vote SDLP but I do have some sympathy for them. I always believed them to be fair and honest. However it's fair to say that the majority of comments regarding McDonnell are correct. He comes across as more interested in promoting himself than his party, arrogant, condescending, bombastic and pompous. Bring back John Hume or Seamus Mallon.
John Harvey in Belfast & Real World wrote (710 days ago):
This is just more empty rhetoric from the pointless and pitiful SDLP. They've been telling themselves (and the rest of us) how 'energised' they are, since 1998. And since 1998, they keep losing more seats, ministries and support every year, year on year. McDonnell is the worst leader they've ever had, and they're now an irrelevance. They have a pointless ONE Ministry now (useless Attwood) down from the previous FIVE Ministries (Mallon, Durkan, Farren, Rodgers & Haughey) This speaks for itself. In the electoral grave they shall stay. And by having Alasdair as leader, he'll guarantee this. Keep dreaming, SDLP. You're great at denial. The electorate know different.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (711 days ago):
The SDLP is not going to survive. I thought McDonnell was a bad choice as leader, Conal McDevitt wouldve been a better choice. The SDLP will slowy but surely lose more votes and seats to Sinn Fein, their getting absorbed by SF.
strabane in strabane wrote (711 days ago):
RED BULL couldn't sort there problems out
TJ McClean in Belfast wrote (711 days ago):
'McDonnell leads 're-energised' SDLP.' The SDLP rot will continue for as long as he is leader.Pompous scaryman is only fooling himmself. Even Margaret Richie was a better leader
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