Foyle MP Mark Durkan says Sinn Féin and the DUP have failed over the course of 10 years in power to prioritise the needs of the North West.
The SDLP politician says both parties ‘wasted or spurned’ opportunities like the One Plan, an actual bid for student expansion at Magee and growth options like an Enterprise Zone and City Deal for Derry.
Mr Durkan says if people in Derry are disappointed and frustrated by the poor level of delivery of the two main parties, worried about the implications of Brexit, or are simply disgusted by the whole RHI “debacle”, then the best way to channel a ‘message for change’ is to vote for SDLP Foyle Assembly candidates Colum Eastwood and Mark H Durkan in Thursday’s election.
He said: “The mandates from this election need to add up to responsible partnership, reliable transparency, serious approaches to serious problems and the reaffirmation of the Good Friday Agreement – not least in the context of Brexit’s uncertainties.
“The background to this election is that, after nearly 10 years in power, ‘a smug DUP and snug Sinn Féin’ ran out of the false pretences which they were selling in the so-called ‘Fresh Start’.
“The best mandate that people in Derry can give through the ballot paper on Thursday are 1st and 2nd votes for the two SDLP candidates who have consistently highlighted the failure of the last two Executives to prioritise the needs of the North West and the fact that the two main parties wasted or spurned opportunities like the One Plan, an actual bid for student expansion at Magee and growth options like an Enterprise Zone and City Deal.
“A stronger mandate for the SDLP in the new Assembly would give public endorsement to the positive ideas for better delivery of better services and better growth that the SDLP has advocated and which the DUP-Sinn Féin power pact have frustrated.
“It would also help to ‘press for reset’ to the original principles, precepts and constructs of the Good Friday Agreement because the previous deviations from the terms of that agreement mandated by the people of Ireland helped to cause the very problems of arrogance, lack of accountability and insensitivity to rights and equality which are now manifest so soon after all the ‘Fresh Start’ hype.”
Mr. Durkan says a strong mandate for the SDLP’s Foyle candidates and SDLP candidates elsewhere is also the best way for people to assert their concerns about the impact of Brexit and to reaffirm their reasons for voting to remain. He says the two SDLP candidates are the only sitting MLAs in Foyle who belong to a party that actually registered to campaign in the referendum against Brexit.
“It was the SDLP who also called for the All-Island Civic Dialogue, who have prioritised protection of the constitutional, institutional and rights provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and have led the call for ‘Special Status’ of EU treatment for the North – including by using the platform of Strand 2.
“If people are disappointed and frustrated by the poor delivery of 10 years of Sinn Féin-DUP power, worried about the implications of Brexit on so many levels, or if they are disgusted by the RHI debacle and the chicanery which tried to mask the budget impact on all of us, then the best way to channel a message for change is to vote for SDLP candidates first and then transfer to any other parties or candidates who they believe can add voice for better governance in the next Assembly than we have had in the last three.”