Flooding is our canary in the coal mine for the impact of climate change, says Sinéad McLaughlin

Belfast, Derry, Strabane and much of Ireland have suffered severe flooding problems in recent days and weeks. We know this will get even worse – with flooding become more intensive and more frequent. A new report says that climate change will be a particular problem for the West of Ireland, with even higher rainfall, leading to even more flooding.  These are not problems we can ignore. I am discussing with the insurance industry how to ensure homeowners, tenants and businesses get the …

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More truth and honesty needed in government, and in dealing with legacy, says Colum Eastwood

Truth and honesty must be at the heart of how we deal with the legacy of the past and in how politicians in Northern Ireland govern today, says Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP and MP for the Foyle constituency. He was speaking in the latest Holywell Trust Forward Together podcast and is the third political leader to be interviewed in the series, discussing how to make progress in Northern Ireland.  Victims have been badly treated, stresses Colum, and they …

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The landslide on the Foyle

Colum Eastwood’s victory in Foyle was a momentous occasion in the history of our politics here. In surpassing even Hume, the founder of the SDLP, Colum now has the weight of a City and history itself on his shoulders. If his victory is to mean anything then it shouldn’t be used solely as a launch pad to building a revitalised SDLP across NI. This is of course within the remit of every party leader, but in changing hands in 2017, …

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Every day we spend in our trenches, refusing to cooperate and meet the needs of people and communities across this island promotes the politics of division further.

Colum Eastwood is the Leader of the SDLP Twenty one years ago, this month, the Nobel Committee announced that John Hume and David Trimble would be awarded the Peace Prize for their work to bring an end to conflict on this island and to forge institutions which compelled people from different backgrounds and with different beliefs to work together in our substantial common interests. The speech that John gave in Oslo when he accepted the prize is a manifesto for …

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Adams “A referendum without a plan is stupid”

Something that happened towards the end of week was a blog post written by former Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams about the issue of having a plan for Irish unification. In his blog post he says; This needs planned now. Not after the referendum. That is the one big lesson of Brexit. A referendum without a plan is stupid. So a referendum on unity must be set in a thoughtful inclusive process which sets out a programme of sustainable options. …

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Eastwood “If you want to send a Pro-Remain MEP, I am the bet”

As one election ends another begins. Yesterday we were invited to follow the SDLP European Candidate and Party Leader, Colum Eastwood around on the North Belfast leg of his trip. We moved around in the new famous battle bus that has garnered comments from Diane Dodds and Jim Allister. This included a visit to a day centre in Newington then to the Girdwood site for a visit with local MLA, Nichola Mallon and then up to the Crumlin Star for …

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Speculation that Colum Eastwood will stand for the European Election

Hearing reports @columeastwood is about to enter EU election race. pic.twitter.com/cuo134ITCY — Enda McClafferty (@endamcclafferty) April 15, 2019 Following one declaration today, the SDLP are now in the process of selecting their candidate for the European Election. Mounting speculation is that the party leader, Colum Eastwood will take up the baton for the party. It is a risk for him to be sure, but with Nicholson out of the race, the SDLP need to show they’re taking this race seriously …

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Eastwood “Continuing to chase after the DUP, who hold a minority view in Northern Ireland is a mistake”

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood has criticised Theresa May for her lack of consultation with other parties in Northern Ireland. He said; With each passing day, the British Government show an ever increasing disregard for the people of Northern Ireland. The sheer lack of communication, and indeed recognition that Northern Ireland will be devastated by a Brexit set to be delivered by dysfunctional politics in London, speaks volumes. “Despite false utterings from the DUP about a border down the Irish …

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Eastwood criticises Jeremy Corbyn over backstop claims

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood has criticised the comments of the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn about the Withdrawal Agreement potentially putting a border down the Irish Sea. In his statement he says; Jeremy Corbyn’s continued opposition to the draft Withdrawal Agreement, based on the myth that it would create a border down the Irish Sea, is not only wrong, it is disingenuous. “To be clear, this deal does not involve a customs border in the Irish Sea. There will be …

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Eastwood: Michael D Higgins A President For Us All

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood writes for us about why he’s backing Michael D. Higgins for a second term as President of Ireland As we enter into the final week of the presidential campaign, I wish to fully reaffirm my own and the SDLP’s support for the re-election of President Michael D Higgins. As a party, we have been privileged to know and to work with Michael D Higgins over the course of some 40 years. Throughout that period he …

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SDLP adopt a conscience policy on abortion at their special conference

At a special conference today in Maghera, the SDLP have allowed their members and representatives a conscience vote on the issue of abortion. This allows MLAs such as Claire Hanna a chance to vote for a less restrictive regime around abortion in Northern Ireland. The vast majority of the SDLP parliamentary party will likely still vote in favour of the status quo, but this does open the way for more pro-choice activitsts within the party to advance their views. The …

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SDLP to hold special conference on abortion in private

From John Manley in the Irish News; The SDLP has confirmed that next month’s special conference to review abortion policy will be held behind closed doors. The party will hold a conference on Saturday May19 dedicated entirely to abortion policy after it was decided that there would not have been adequate time to discuss the contentious issue at last weekend’s annual conference in Belfast. An hour had intially been earmarked to debate a number of motions relating to abortion at …

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Post Conference Retreat

Dominic O’Reilly is a SDLP Member and attended the party’s recent conference I am a mess of contradictions! Some years ago I took the decision to join a political party. Meanwhile for the last fifteen years I have been actively involved in youth ministry within the Church. To the extent that some eight years ago I entered studies for the diocesan priesthood. While I did not see this through to completion it was an incredibly fruitful time and period of …

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Colum Eastwood: The real choice is whether we want to take up power in this corner of Ireland.

The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood writes for Slugger about the current round of talks that are ongoing at Stormont I’ve always thought that one of the great attractions of politics is found in its ever evolving nature. Many of those who are active or take an interest in political life are drawn to the fact that each day brings with it a different story, a different opportunity and a different challenge. That constant change is driven by a combination of …

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A Year Without Government Series: Part II

This article makes up the second part of a series that takes a satirical look back on the last year and a bit of Northern Irish Politics. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. Find Part I here. The Assembly Election Debate It is a time honoured tradition of the Assembly election cycle that the BBC and UTV bring representatives from the five largest parties into a room together to shout …

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Eastwood “I still know that the constitutional position will not be changed overnight even in with the upheaval caused by Brexit”

SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood gave an address to the D’Arcy McGee Summer School on Brexit and he made some interesting comments about how Unionist parties view comments on this subject from Nationalist leaders; I am conscious that unionism’s kneejerk reaction to this kind of language will be naturally defensive and some will automatically assume that I am speaking about some sort of sudden re-unification to avoid Brexit. Let me be clear – I am not. Of course my view as an …

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Colum Eastwood argues for a Border Poll after Brexit process

At the SDLP manifesto launch, Colum Eastwood was asked by the Irish News Political Correspondent, John Manley about a border poll and here is how he responded; I want a border poll, we’ve just made it a lot more winnable, because of the work that Mark and our MPs did in Westminster with David Davis. The work that we did in negotiations  when we were talking about lots of different things, we were talking to the British Secretary of State …

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UTV Leaders’ Debate #vote17 – squabbling politicians talk in clichés #ae17

If there was a winner of tonight’s debate it was Cliché. Though Lothario might be a close runner up. There were no knock out blows. Few punches caused any leader to wobble towards the ropes. Instead they parried them away with relative ease. While the lack of a studio audience eliminated oohs and ahs and mischievous clapping, it did also mean that the questions could be crisply delivered by Marc Mallett who kept the rough and tumble in the playground as well-behaved as could be expected.

Colum Eastwood: NI Executive need to come to a collective response on RHI

SOAPBOX Writing exclusively for Slugger, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood invokes the old political truism that if a story involving a political scandal runs into the second week then resignations always follow. Arlene Foster is now facing into her second week of the biggest political scandal to hit Stormont since devolution. This story isn’t go away anytime soon, in fact it’s growing legs …

Eastwood to boycott the Trump White House

This statement was released yesterday by the SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood on the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Both Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster have pledged to continue on engagement with the Trump administration. He says; “As things fall apart, the centre ground is struggling to know what is worth holding on to. Mainstream politics remains uneasy and unsure as to its place, its power and its purpose. “Donald Trump has swept in …

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