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29 April 2010 Edition

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Does the SDLP still want to cosy up with the Tories?

Margaret Ritchie

Margaret Ritchie

SINN FÉIN North Antrim candidate Daithí McKay has called on the SDLP to state publicly if they are still in favour of linking up with the UUP/Conservative Party and if they support the David Cameron’s proposed cuts to the public sector in the North of Ireland.
He said that, not so long ago, some senior members of the SDLP were proposing a formal link-up between their party, the Alliance Party and the Ulster Unionists/Tories to discuss issues such as health, the economy and education.
“I wonder how this features in with the Tory Party’s planned cuts to our dynamic public sector and services?” Daithí McKay asked.
“All of this is merely further evidence, if it were needed, of the confused, rudderless position of the SDLP: one week they want to merge with Fianna Fáil, the next week Fine Gael; sometimes it’s Labour and then, in this instance, they have even suggested a link up with the Alliance and Tory parties.”
He said that people have become accustomed to identity crises within the SDLP but the real question is whether there are SDLP members who still support the idea of a link up with the Tories and, if so, will they support their proposed cuts?
“We have already seen how disjointed the SDLP are –  when they have flown in to war-torn Afghanistan, paid for by the British Ministry of Defence or when they have already pinned their support for the British Labour Party if returned to Westminster – and it is indicative of their ever-increasing desperation.
“Maybe on this particular issue they’ll give us at least some degree of clarity.”


Margaret Ritchie admits SDLP ambitions matter more than nationalist interests in Fermanagh and South Tyrone

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie’s statement at her party’s manifesto launch last week that the SDLP’s main objective in Fermanagh and South Tyrone is securing a future Assembly seat for Fearghal McKinney exposes “the SDLP’s willingness to sacrifice nationalist interests in the interest of their own party”, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew said.
“The unionist parties, at the behest of the Orange Order, and with the backing of the British Tory Party, have come together in Fermanagh and South Tyrone to deny nationalists representation,” Michelle Gildernew said.
“This is old-style sectarian unionist politics at work. They are still trying to dictate to nationalists. They are still trying to hold back change.
“The SDLP is playing into their hands.”

“Margaret Ritchie’s comments yesterday revealed that the SDLP’s sole objective in Fermanagh and South Tyrone is securing a future Assembly seat for Fearghal McKinney. Voters going to the polls on 6 May need to take those comments into account before they cast their ballot.”


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