SDLP’s Byrne expresses hurt at Durkan’s advert as Irish News issues apology

Joe Byrne, the SDLP politican who sat on the selection panel which appointed Hugh Orde as Chief Constable of the PSNI, has expressed his ‘hurt’ and ‘isolation’ over his own former party leader’s claims carried in the now infamous Irish News advert. The Irish News today carried a formal apology for Alan McQuillan arising out of the “perceived references” to him in the SDLP advert. The paper also, helpfully, issued a statement to our very own Slugger in the past 24 hours about one aspect of my earlier blog on the McQuillan/ Durkan affair.

  • Pete Baker


    Whatever was said at the meeting of the Policing Board, Joe Byrne’s actual comments detailed in that report were..

    He refused to comment today, saying: “I’m reluctant to talk about the meeting or anything relating to that matter until everything is cleared up.”

    The rest is attributed to an anonymous “source on the Board”.

  • brendan,belfast

    calm down Chris. read Joe’s own quote, not that of a ‘source.’ don’t you have a name for ‘sources’? secruocrats or something??

  • Aaron McDaid

    Fred Cobain (UUP): “For the families of 302 RUC officers who were killed here, and the thousands more injured, that advertisement was a total insult. It seems to say members of the RUC weren`t fit to hold office.”

    This is cringeworthy. He should apologise for such an irrelevant attempt to cash in on grief. There is an important issue relating to whether certain well paid coppers got a fair crack at an even higher paying job, and the courts will sort that out as appropriate, but Cobain should stop pretending this has anything to do with dead RUC officers.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Pete and Brendan

    Not a bit of wonder Joe Byrne has let ‘sources’ do the talking for him. After all, as the only SDLP figure actually on the selection panel, he was the only figure who could have put the suggested SDLP policy of ensuring no former RUC man got the job of Chief Constable into action.

    Which is, of course, why he should- and obviously does- feel vulnerable at this time, given the wording of Durkan’s advert.

  • andy

    Ultimately would you have a problem with the SDLP blocking the appointment of “old school” RUC officers?
    Or are you just making political hay out of the SDLP’s predicament? (which you are fully entitled to do)
    Seems to me they did exactly the right thing. Although I suppose the ad was bit on the stoopid side.

  • J Kelly

    Durkan will apologise after the election and that will be the end of the matter. Is it true that Tom Kelly designed the ad. Kelly and the Attwoods seem to behind a lot of the SDLP woes. Wasn’t it these bright sparks that talked Brid Rogers into West Tyrone and Kelly was the first to call for Hume to go. Another fine mess.

  • SuperSoupy

    An issue like collusion reduced to a pathetic row over a paid for advertisement due to SDLP buffoonery.

    Well done them.

    And they think this benefits with the electorate.

    Tell it to anyone that hoped the focus would be on the Ombudsman report and collusion not this idiocy.

  • Tkmaxx

    Let me put you straight – I did not provide the text/wording for the SDLP ad which appeared in the Irish News; I did not support the running of Brid Rodgers in West Tyrone; anyone who knows me (and you dont) know that I am not close to the Attwoods. But yes I did call for a leadership change six years ago after we were so obviously failing to manage any proper transition as recommended by the report we adopted and our vote started to slip. I don’t regret that. Or do you think we would be in a better position today if our main leadership were all in their 70s? I am glad you asked because now you know.

  • Red Mist


    I have to say I have no love for the SDLP nor Joe Byrne but I have to say that this thread is weak on fact and smacks of opportunism on your behalf.

    Would you have a habit of believing ‘sources’ from the policing board? Would these be the same ‘sources’ that would frequently get the boot into Republicans?

  • None of this changes the fact that the SDLP are basically trying to out-Shinner the Shinners. As the old saying goes – “When confronted by a choice between conservatives and liberals pretending to be conservatives, the electorate will always vote for the genuine article”.

  • ingram


    Yet another pathetic attempt by you at putting a shinner gloss on things, you need lessons mate in playing the dark art.


  • J_K

    Why does no one feel sory for por old Joe. He has been shafted by the party he belongs to. He is very vulnerable and for what purpose. What did the SDLP ad achieve – absolutely nothing (a bit like the SDLP themselves).

    I think that Tom Kelly is right to distance himself from the writing. Is there a name begining with B and possible having the letters A R I N G T O N somewhere ringing a bell with any SDLP insiders.

  • 21stcenturyirishman

    well make up your conspiratorial minds. last week that fool Briege Gadd was blaming an ad agency. Does it matter who wrote the ad? Does it matter that Ned Cohen probably wrote Martin McGuinness’ crazy letter in the Irish News? McGuinness signed it, just as Durkan put his name to the SDLP ad. they took responsibility.

  • Joe Romhar

    So that explains how the McGuinness letter was so stupid. Ned wrote it.