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SDLP need to recognise new political realities

14 December, 2008

Commenting on remarks by SDLP Minister Margaret Ritchie questioning her party's continuing role in the Executive, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd said that her remarks were the latest example of the SDLP being incapable of recognising new political realities.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"For some years now the SDLP have been rudderless and lacking in political direction. They have been incapable of dealing with the new political realities which the electorate in the north have decided upon.

"The SDLP appear to have got into the position of wanting to see the power sharing and all-Ireland institutions fail to the point where Mark Durkan recently called for an end to mandatory coalition. That is not the view shared by the vast majority of people across the island. Claims by Margaret Ritchie that she is being bullied by unionists have little credibility when only a matter of weeks ago she was sharing joint platforms with both the DUP and UUP to attack Sinn Féin over our defence of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements.

"It was the democratic process which decided the make up of the Executive, nobody else. Instead of entering into a political sulk the SDLP in general and Margaret Ritchie in particular should get on with the job of making these institutions work for the people." ENDS

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