SDLP should come out over Lords membership

In the Irish Times Gerry Moriarty has picked up on the theme of the SDLP’s attitude to the House of Lords, following Nuala O’Loan’s appointment.

Among those who congratulated her yesterday were SDLP leader Mark Durkan, MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Assembly member Alex Attwood, notwithstanding that the SDLP does not nominate members to the House of Lords. Dame Nuala is married to SDLP MLA in North Antrim Declan O’Loan.
Mr Durkan said that Dame Nuala would provide an “independent and articulate voice in the Lords as she has been in her other previous public service positions”.

Some Consevatives are working on a plan for an 80% elected chamber called “The Upper House” with an 80% elected membership. Perhaps this would help the SDLP to come out and openly sponsor members to represent their viewpoint in the increasingly effective House.

  • Brian

    You could stand accused of sexism in your analysis. It’s deeply uinfair on Nuala, Declan and the SDLP to make the sort of assumptions you have. History and Mrs O’Loans record speak for themselves. As for Tory plans to make the Lords democratic Ill believe them when I see them.

  • J Kelly

    It looks like Nuala had a bigger fish to fry when durkan asked to stand for the sdlp in european elections just past. Its interesting that they all jumped to send congratulation when it wasn’t that long ago that party members were pushed aside if they accepted gongs. If memory serves me correctly Durkan never congratulated Tom Kelly when he stooped for his gong, but that might have been more to do with internal party bickering than party policy.

  • Paddy 2-08

    J Kelly – What does Nuala O Loan’s acceptance of this appointment got to do with SDLP party policy?

  • J Kelly

    Paddy it seemed at the time that Durkan didn’t congratulate Tom Kelly because it was party policy not to accept such “honours” so it wouldn’t be appropriate for the party leader to congratulate someone for doing something you were opposed to. I was making the point that it may have also had to do with internal bickerings. It was around this time that the attwoods star began to fall, Alex removed from policing and Tim left his post at headquaters. I dont know if all these were connected or just coincidences.

  • William

    God bless the new Dame…..a gong for doing the despicable labour government’s dirty work….


    congratulations to Baroness O Loan. And I like Mrs O Loan I was not a member of the sdlp on receiving an award. the sdlp reaction is unsurprising

  • Peter Fyfe

    Fair play to her, she has done a good job in various roles and is clearly highly respected across a broad spectrum. She has showed she is interested in using her experience for the benefit of public service. No doubt she will scrutinise any bill that comes her way that will have Brown shaking. The SDLP should endorse this as she is now the epitomy of what the SDLP have always wanted. A respect for both traditions and an input from Dublin and London. She is showing that as well as working on behalf of the ROI as a special envoy, she can also serve in the Lords. May seem like a contridiction but as a result of the good friday agreement, this situation is now perfectly possible. The lords may not be the epitomy of democracy but if it exists why not have a woman as able as Nuala O’Loan sitting in it.

    Also, my granmother was telling me she was once waiting beside the chapel in Glenravel waiting for an uncle to get the car and collect her. Along came Nuala O’Loan and offered to drive her home not even knowing who my grandmother was. My uncle arrived in the car behind so my grandmother politely refused. We need more people like her in public office so the SDLP was right to congratulate her.

  • borderline


    Sires Dames and Lords Party.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    She’s not a party member so I don’t see what all the fuss is about. While not agreeing with the honours system and discouraging party members from taking honours the SDLP can surely at the same time congratulate Nuala O’Loan for receiving something that she as a private individual is proud of.

  • J Kelly

    1967 no problem with what you are saying but i was just pointing out the different approach from when Tom Kelly took the soup.