My question to Secretary of State Theresa Villiers MP today, raising the need for an economic development plan for Northern Ireland to tackle low skills, pay and productivity  

This is a critical moment in politics as the government faces a showdown in the House of Lords over its devastating plans to cut working tax credits. The SDLP voted against these plans in the House of Commons and urges those faced with the same decision today to support this stance. For thousands of hard […]

The Independent Panel Report has provided Sinn Féin with a unique opportunity to break the political deadlock by just telling the truth. The Panel is to be commended for a straight-talking report in areas which have produced far too much fudge in the past. First of all it provides no comfort for anyone who would […]

Today should neither be a surprise nor a shock but it is sobering. The response should be certain. Once and for all, illegal groups whatever their structure must be gone for good. Decisively and unambiguously, illegal activity must be faced down. The SDLP judgement is informed by the PSNI and Garda. We have not been […]

I reject comments to the BBC by Jonathan Powell about legalising the IRA if they exist as a veterans organisation. There never was and never will be any need for a paramilitary group. There should not now be an attempt to justify them – whether they be republican or loyalist. All groups should commit to […]

Earlier this week I attended the Labour Party conference in Brighton and emphasised the SDLP committment to keeping Northern Ireland within the European Union. I took part in panel discussions and met senior Labour party officials on the subject of a potential UK exit from the EU. An exit from the European Union remains an […]

Last week I responded to a statement from the Northern Ireland Secretary of State where she announced an assessment into the structures of paramilitaries and increased resources aimed at tackling organised crime. We noted this statement but there are serious doubts over the capacity and commitment of this security service assessment. To move forward we […]

This afternoon the SDLP confirmed it would vote against a DUP proposal to adjourn the Assembly in favour of maintaining functioning institutions. Unlike others who rushed to judgement, we have been steady and spoken to everyone, including the Irish Government, about the current situation. Our decision has been to oppose the adjournment of the Assembly. […]

Today in Westminster I had took the opportunity to react to the statement by the Secretary of State to the Commons on the latest political situation in Northern Ireland. Asked her if she would accept that its not the existence of IRA, but their activities and operations that cause the problem. Also, that threats of […]

A reminder to schools around Northern Ireland that the Dept of the Environment Challenge fun remains open until the 25th September offering funding for environmental projects. My colleague Minister Mark H Durkan has this week announced funding of over £200,000 to 33 community groups across the North. The money comes from the carrier bag levy, […]