Party Leaders reflect on two years without Stormont

Two years ago today, Martin McGuinness announced his resignation as Deputy First Minister and the rest is history as they say. Fast forward and the various party leaders have been reflecting on the collapse of Stormont. Had the Assembly continued it would have been in the third year of its mandate. Michelle O’Neill from Sinn Fein; Through all the political breakdown and rancour of the past two years, it can be tempting to believe that the prospects of restoring the … Read more

SDLP/Fianna Fail talks coming to a conclusion.

In today’s Irish News, Claire Simpson reports a message from the SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood and the Deputy Leader, Nichola Mallon to the party membership about discussions with Fianna Fail.  It says; “Our discussions have been based on how best to meet the challenges of Brexit, how best to restore the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and how best to ensure that our values of reconciliation and the unity of our people can once again enter into the lifeblood … Read more

Four Pro-Remain parties issue joint statement on the backstop

The following statement was issued by the leaders of Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Green Party.   The four Remain parties, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and our preference is for no Brexit at all. We recognise that the majority of people, businesses and civic society do not want Brexit either. “We have a shared responsibility to protect jobs, economic stability, the environment and … Read more

15 years on from the 2003 Assembly Election

Today marks 15 years since the DUP and Sinn Fein emerged as the largest parties, overtaking the SDLP and UUP at an Assembly level. For your viewing pleasure I have taken some clips from the five main party manifestos. DUP- It’s Time for a Fair Deal Key points; Reduce MLAs from 108 to 72 Abolish Civic Forum Cut back North/South bodies Reduce govt departments Redefine equality agenda Sinn Fein-Agenda For Government Key Points Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement Creation … Read more

What would paddy Devlin make of a SDLP/Fianna Fail merger?

Over recent months we have seen continuous speculation and briefing by SDLP & Fianna Fail members who wish to promote the idea of a FF-SDLP merger. SDLP members have two key challenges to face should they seriously consider a merger with Fianna Fail, firstly how does Fianna Fail resonate with its labour values and secondary are Fianna Fail just too toxic due to their record of scandal. The SDLP has always had a labour bone in its body, the politics … Read more

We Believe Her

By SDLP Youth On Sunday past, we watched a very uncomfortable Michelle O’Neill, the Vice President of Sinn Féin on BBC Inside Politics, when being questioned about the Máiría Cahill case. Upon being asked if she believed Máiría Cahill’s account of the abuse she suffered in the 1990s, at the hands of an IRA member, Ms O’Neill replied, “it’s not for me to say that I believe her.” In recent years, Sinn Féin have positioned themselves as the political defenders … Read more

The reality and rhetoric of where Fianna Fail stands in Irish politics

I read with some amusement Jack O’Connors contribution to the debate around Fianna Fail and the SDLP possibly developing a more formal arrangement. He argues; Noel Whelan is probably indulging in a bit of end of silly season kite-flying, but it is extremely damaging to the Labour Party. I mean no disrespect to the Fianna Fail Party, indeed I am on the record as saying that the decision not to go back into Government with them in 1994 was one … Read more

The long and winding road to Irish unity

“Of its nature this is a long-term policy, requiring patience, understanding and forbearance and resolute resistance to emotionalism and opportunism. It is not the less patriotic for that” TK Whitaker, Note on North-South Border Policy, 11 November 1968 There is no denying that the idea of a United Ireland has more momentum now than ever before. Out of the Brexit chaos, and the Stormont vacuum, it tempting to ask: is the time for patience is coming to an end? And … Read more

Watch back the Leaders Debate from Feile and Phobail. 

Some thoughts In a 90 minute debate there was a very interesting dialogue between the representatives of the parties. It was on the whole, a respectful exchange of views. Simon Hamilton and Robin Swann deserve credit for how they approached this debate. They handled an audience that was far from being on their side well and I think it beneficial having that Unionist voice on the panel to remind all of us that not everyone thinks the same way on … Read more

RTE’s celebration of John Hume feels like nostalgia for a time that has gone

RTE have just screened a documentary In the Name of Peace; John Hume in America by Maurice Fitzpatrick which the film maker has kindly drawn to my attention. Being in London I cannot access it yet nor have I read his accompanying book. But from the YouTube trail, this is a major celebration of John Hume’s life and work. Anybody who was anybody is in it, led by Clinton and Blair, although Jimmy Carter was not quite so dazzled.  As … Read more

Joint statement by party leaders on rights after Brexit

The following is a joint statement from the leaders of Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green parties. We are at a crucial point in the Brexit negotiations. Guarantees were given in the Joint Report between the British government and the EU in December that there would be no diminution of rights as a result of Brexit, on the rights of people resident here and that the Good Friday Agreement would be protected. “These guarantees have yet to be fully translated … Read more

Abstentionism lends itself to British involvement in Irish affairs

Colin McGrath is the SDLP Chief Whip and MLA for South Down Sinn Fein’s abstentionist policy, no matter the size of its mandate, like all party policy positions, is not above criticism. The catastrophe that is Brexit has awoken a new era in political history. Its implications will be far-reaching and its affects will be felt long after we exit the European Union. Any political party that has the power to change the course of this impending shipwreck should, and … Read more

Political leaders unite to appeal for calm and condemn violence

The following has been issued by the leaders of Sinn Fein, DUP, UUP, SDLP, Alliance and Green parties. “Attacks on the police have been on-going for a number of days alongside other violence including sectarian attacks on houses, petrol bombs thrown at the police, intimidation of contractors, vehicles hi-jacked and attacks on sheltered accommodation. “The shots fired last night were a clear and obvious attempt to murder police officers. There must be a strong, clear and united voice against those … Read more

Máiría Cahill to become an SDLP Councillor

Former Labour Senator, Máiría Cahill will become a Councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Council for the SDLP. You can read her interview with the BBC here.  Speaking about the move, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said; “Máiría Cahill has an extremely strong record of speaking out against injustice, maltreatment and inequality; we are confident that her attributes are best placed to compliment the values and vision of the SDLP, and we are delighted she has decided to make the SDLP her political … Read more

Joint Statement from Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party on Human Rights post Brexit

Joint Declaration on Human Rights and Equality 1. We are strongly committed to the promotion, protection and the vindication of the human rights of everyone. We believe these guarantees should apply to all who reside in NI. 2. We firmly believe in the centrality of equality to the shared society we are working together to create. 3. We share a profound concern that “Brexit” will result in further regression on equality and rights. 4. We welcome the guarantee in the … Read more

Abortion Alliances Transcending Orange and Green

One of the first things I became involved in through the Belfast Feminist Network was a short play about abortion. It attempted to tell the stories of women’s experiences accessing abortions from Northern Ireland. At the time, around 2011, it was novel. We weren’t even telling real stories, per se, but writing them based on conversations with real women. We performed it a couple of times, and then the artistic conversations moved on to telling real women’s actual stories – … Read more

Young People Not Immune to Political Deadlock

Paul McCusker is the SDLP Councillor for Oldpark Twenty years on from the Good Friday Agreement, the ceasefire generation – for the most part – live a peaceful and prosperous life, free from the violence and the heartache of the past. There is however a forgotten generation; a generation who still feel the weight of living in areas controlled by paramilitaries, whose parents and grandparents lost their lives in the conflict, who live in communities barricaded by “peace” walls, who … Read more

SluggerTV looks at the smaller parties, West Tyrone & the SDLP special conference

This month we debate the West Tyrone by-election, the SDLP special conference and the other smaller parties with Brendan Mulgrew from MWA Advocate, Andree Murphy who is an Andersonstown News Columnist and the Irish News reporter, Brendan Hughes. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs