Election 2017: Former SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan to run as independent in election

A former SDLP MLA from Limavady is quitting the party to run as an independent candidate in the Assembly election, the '˜Journal' can reveal.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 6:00 am
Gerry Mullan

Gerry Mullan was elected as the SDLP MLA for East Derry last May, replacing John Dallat who had served in the NI Assembly since 1998.

However, less than a year later, Mr. Dallat has come out of retirement to stand for the SDLP in East Derry after he was selected by a panel which included former SDLP deputy leader Brid Rogers.

Gerry Mullan, who had been a member of the SDLP for 17 years, says his 
decision has not been an easy one.

Speaking exclusively to the ‘Journal’, Mr. Mullan said: “It is with the utmost regret and disappointment that I have been forced to surrender my allegiance to a party whose founding principles of fairness and equality I have so strongly upheld since its inception.

“I am currently taking legal advice in relation to the manner in which my deselection came about.

“These matters can take a long time to conclude and, for that reason, after a long period of soul searching and speaking with family and members of the community, I have decided to put my name forward as an independent candidate in the forthcoming elections.”

Mr. Mullan, who was a member of Stormont’s Finance Committee, thanked “the hundreds of well wishers” who, he said, have contacted him in recent days.

The 62-year-old father-of-eight said they had “encouraged me to continue the work I started only eight months ago and I promise, if elected, to vigorously continue to bring to book anyone who is a drain on the public purse.”