Eastwood challenges Sinn Fein to take Westminster seats

SDLP MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood. (photo: Stephen Latimer).
SDLP MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood. (photo: Stephen Latimer).

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has challenged Sinn Fein’s Westminster election candidates to pledge that they will take their seats if elected next May.

Mr Eastwood called on Sinn Fein to end its policy of abstentionism as the party prepares to unveil its Westminster candidate for Foyle this Thursday evening.

“The three SDLP MPs were the only Northern Ireland parliamentarians to oppose welfare reform at every stage in Westminster while Sinn Fein’s five MPs stayed at home,” said Mr. Eastwood.

“We now face into an abyss of crippling Tory cuts and I would urge Sinn Fein’s MPs to stand up and fight for the people of the North rather than shirking their responsibilities.”

Mr. Eastwood went on to describe the long held decision take by Sinn Fein to not take their seats at Westminster as ‘self-indulgent’.

“Sinn Fein’s policy of abstentionism is self indulgent. Sinn Fein needs to face up to its responsibilities to the people they purport to represent by actually going to Westminster and voting against the Tory cuts the say they oppose,” he said.

Sinn Fein is expected to select former Mayor of Derry, Gearóid Ó hEára.

Sinn Fein declined to comment when asked by the Journal if Mr. Ó hEára would be put forward.

According to sources, Mr. Ó hEára is the only name that has been forward to contest the election and his candidacy is expected go unopposed.

Sinn Fein will offically announce who will contest the Foyle seat at next May’s general election at a specially convened convention in the Tower Hotel on Friday evening.