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, […]

The SDLP is surprised by the analysis provided by Henry McDonald in his recent article but welcomes an opportunity to put the record straight. Regardless of the political consequences, the SDLP will not stand by when Sinn Fein deny that Catholics are being murdered by PIRA. No level of violence is acceptable, no-one can be […]

It has come to my attention there is a significant backlog in the processing of blue badge applications for disabled drivers. As of July 17th there are 6,793 applications waiting to be processed, including renewals. Transport NI have indicated that applicants can expect to wait six to eight weeks for a response to their application. […]

Today in Parliament I asked Prime Minister Cameron directly if he agreed that following disgraceful scenes in North Belfast this week the Loyal orders should take up the offer from local residents to engage in direct dialogue to reach a meaningful resolution on disputes.

I was in the Commons yesterday to witness the first Tory budget in nearly 20 years. It took over an hour for the Chancellor to outline his plans, but what he said will affect our lives for many years. I am disappointed that the Chancellor made little reference to Northern Ireland in his budget and […]