Belfast Telegraph

SDLP unveils team of spokespeople to shadow new Executive departments

The SDLP has unveiled a new team of party spokesmen and women to shadow the new Executive departments at Stormont.

The nine departments are set to be established after May's elections.

New appointees include South Belfast Assembly member Claire Hanna at finance, former Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon covering communities and new West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan shadowing the Department for Infrastructure.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Patsy McGlone would be spokesman on the economy and Fearghal McKinney continues to specialise in health.

Mr Eastwood said: "This new team is the embodiment of the new SDLP which will deliver a new and positive alternative for people across Northern Ireland."

He said every nominee had a strong track record of delivery in their local communities and was committed to creating new politics for people right across the north.

"That means a focus on providing jobs for young workers, an end to forced emigration and delivering pledges on the economy, on healthcare and on tackling crime. This is what we will focus on in the upcoming election."

Larger portfolios will see new teams where spokespeople are supported by assembly or council colleagues.

Mr Eastwood added: "The north needs a different government. One thing that unites us all is our disappointment in the current government.

"The SDLP will fight the upcoming election to take part in a new government but we are also clear that this is the last Assembly mandate in which there will be no opposition at Stormont.

"Power sharing structures where the Executive is held properly accountable is the only way we can ensure effective government. It is the only way we put an end to the arrogance, cynicism and cronyism which has become a permanent feature of politics here. That ends today."

The SDLP leader announced the names at an event in west Belfast.

Afterwards he visited nearby schools and a range of community projects in the area, some of which are under threat from budgetary pressures.

He also met with families of the victims of the Shankill Road bombing following claims earlier this week of alleged collusion.


From Belfast Telegraph