Review of the SDLP conference – lacking passion and oomph … perhaps waiting for a new leader #sdlp14 [audio]

The SDLP conference took place on Friday and Saturday in the Ramada Hotel. Using the same venue as the UUP’s get-together four weeks ago, the nationalist party had chosen to divide the main ballroom in half, swapping delegate seats for more exhibitor space. But it wasn’t just the layout and configuration that contrasted with their unionist cousins. This year’s SDLP conference lacked passion. That’s not entirely true: on Saturday afternoon Dolores Kelly and Alex Attwood delivered speeches with gusto and …

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@CaralNiChuilin on dealing with the past

Everyone is familiar with legacies of the development boom and bust, such as ghost estates or negative equity. A slightly less obvious legacy was raised in the Assembly yesterday when Carál Ní Chuilín answered a question on the preservation of archaeological collections recovered from sites being developed during the boom. Currently a working group is preparing a report on how to deal with this issue for the Environment Minister, Mark Durkan, who has the majority of responsibility in this area. …

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SDLP conference – a party ill at ease with itself over opposition & strategy #sdlp13

Over half the motions at the SDLP policy-making annual conference were addressed on Friday afternoon and evening. Participation in debate was sporadic and the numbers of delegates in the hall were low compared to the number catching up in the hotel corridors and social areas. One observer recalled that not much more than 50 people were in the hall for Friday’s health debate, and a fifth of them were lobbyists! That was a large attendance compared with mid-morning on Saturday. …

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Planning Bill: Or how OFMdFM dropped the ball on their end of the Downing Street economic pact?

So let’s join the dots a little on yesterday’s crash landing of the planning bill. [Focus people, focus – Ed]. This was the bill intended to fix set up the Enterprise Zones that were so critical to the Downing Street package of cash agreed just before the G8 with David Cameron. That was on 14th of June this year. By 24th and 25th June, OFMdFM had scrambled together two amendments which radically altered the bill the SDLP Minister for the …

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