Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Mark H Durkan: SDLP, Foyle

Mark H Durkan
Mark H Durkan

Long-time party activist who received the highest vote in Derry City Council history when he ran in the 2005 election, he also serves on the Western Health Council and Western Education Area Board.

Why did you want to become an MLA?

I got great satisfaction from my role as a Derry City councillor in serving the public. During this time I experienced how bureaucracy obstructs the simplest of tasks for people in our communities and wanted to tackle the red tape. Government should be looking at how to solve problems for people, not explaining why it cannot.

Apart from family and work, what are your main passions in life?

I love running and trained for the fairly recent Waterside half marathon. I also love going to Derry GAA and Derry City matches and am a fervent Everton supporter -- an affliction that my son Luke has been unlucky enough to inherit.

What issues do you intend to raise as an MLA?

I intend to raise many issues which cause despair, distress and annoyance to my constituents. One such matter currently ongoing in Derry is the shortage of care provision for young people with special needs once they leave school, which I raised in my maiden speech in the Assembly.

Is there anything about the Assembly system that needs changed urgently?

I think the Assembly system is OK, but the current main operators are not making it perform as it should in delivering for people on the ground. A lot of people also feel unconnected to the Assembly and that it is irrelevant to them. I would encourage people to pay a visit to Stormont -- there's a friendly team who give tours.

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