Saturday, 15 September 2012

SDLP has a narrow sectarian agenda

In the Assembly on Monday, the SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell complained to the Speaker that I had broken the Ministerial Code of Conduct and violated the Ministerial Pledge of Office.  In order to continue their narrow petty political point scoring game the SDLP is now trying to collect enough MLAs' signatures to move a no-confidence motion about me in the Assembly.  They need 30 MLAs.  The SDLP want to misrepresent what I said for the sake of a few moments of publicity, which in the end will be of no benefit to them or the people they say they represent.
I have not broken the Ministerial Code of Conduct or the Pledge of Office and I totally refute any suggestion to the contrary.  Anyone who has read the transcript of what I actually said will already know that.  Any public comments that I have made in the past or will make in the future do not need to be interpreted by the SDLP.  I continue to support and uphold the rule of law ... not the version as determined by the narrow sectarian agenda of the SDLP.
I remain focused on working with all sections of the community to deliver a long term solution to the problems of North Belfast.  Whether it be socially, economically or politically I and my colleagues are first and foremost interested in building a community in North Belfast that is both peaceful and prosperous.
Sectarian behaviour and violence have no place in our society.  They are wrong and must always be condemned.  If we are to build a shared future, it must be built on mutual respect and tolerance.  That is what I am working to achieve across the community of North Belfast.  Regulations will not solve our problems but relationships can.  That is why I welcome the statements by the Loyal Orders in relation to the events outside St Patrick's Church in Donegal Street.  They demonstrated maturity and have undoubtedly helped to create a better atmosphere.
Such maturity is sadly lacking from the new SDLP leadership of today.  Their stance on the right to exercise peaceful protest is in reality an attack on the position of the founding fathers of the SDLP, demonstrates the immaturity of their thinking and is a total repudiation of such renowned world figures as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.  After all, the SDLP evolved from the civil rights parades and protests of the late 1960s.


  1. Nelson a chara, You stated above;'If we are to build a shared future, it must be built on mutual respect and tolerance. That is what I am working to achieve across the community of North Belfast.'

    If that is true, why do you refuse to discuss serious issues surrounding ongoing unwelcome parades through Greater Ardoyne? With GARC, CARA or other local residents? Surely, dialogue can help resolve outstanding problems and lead to a better understanding between all sides involved...

    1. I do not accept your use of the term Greater Ardoyne. The parade is along the main Crumlin Road.
      I have met with CARA and I asked you, as regards GARC, is it not your position that there should be no Loyal Order parades at all on the Crumlin Road between Hesketh and the Woodvale Road?

    2. In spite of the term Greater Ardoyne chara, it is a reasonable term in describing the general area in which I live Nelson.

      Glad to hear that U met with CARA and that can only be described as a progressive move on your part. Regards my answer about GARC's policy/intention about Loyal Order parades through my local community. Your description is indeed our public stance, but like all such groups we do have alternatives..

      I guess the only way for that particular position to be explored by yourself, Loyal Orders and the N&WBCPF can only take place through genuine engagement & dialogue and GARC will not be found wanting when not if such talks happen.

      Any talks of this nature would have to be held with the agreement of all concerned and with a fully independant facilitator. Sadly, propaganda, demonisation and the continued criminalisation of GARC and it's Activists hasn't helped people such as yourself understand us less.

      All participants also need to understand the demographic changes which taken place in the area these past 20 yrs or so. Even though, you and others have spoken to CARA, they cannot offer a genuine resolution to the whole issue because they only represent a section of my community which should be taken on board.

  2. Poor old stoops a party born out of civil disobedience, are now so marginalized in their own community they now must try and steal some of the shinners clothes. Sad really.


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