Former East Derry MLA John Dallat has come out of retirement to run for the SDLP in East Derry.
John Dallat retired after the May Assembly election last year and was replaced by Causeway Coast & Glens councillor Gerry Mullan.
The greed and corruption which has occupied the foundations of this government must be rooted outJohn Dallat
The ‘Journal’ reported on Friday that Mr. Dallat was throwing his hat in the ring for the seat along with the outgoing MLA Gerry Mullan, and a third candidate, Causeway Coast & Glens councillor Roisin Loftus.
It’s understood Mr. Dallat was confirmed as the SDLP’s candidate for East Derry on Saturday.
Mr Dallat, a former Deputy Speaker, retired from Stormont after 18 years and is understood to have received a substantial retirement package, thought to be in the region of £48,000.
In endorsing Mullan’s nomination last year, John Dallat said he was “delighted that Gerry has been endorsed by the party centrally”
In a statement, Mr. Dallat said: “I want to see all the electorate represented by someone who is committed to the welfare of people and has, as a priority, the creation of jobs and security for this and future generations. Gerry is that person and he has goodwill of all the elected and party faithful in this constituency.”
In a statement today, Mr. Dallat said: “After a lifetime of public service, I left politics with a heart full of hope for what could be achieved through mutual respect, partnership and accommodation. Like the rest of the public, I have been disgusted by what I’ve seen happen to our political institutions.
“A rogue Speaker intent on silencing an opposition giving voice to legitimate public interest concerns. Ministers on spending sprees with no sense of cost control over the precious public finances they are entrusted with and parties which have hollowed out the principles of power sharing, playing happy families one month and family feuds in the next. That is not the politics that I dedicated my life to.
“The greed and corruption which has occupied the foundations of this government must be rooted out. That’s why I refuse to stand by, to sit back, to say my job is done. In seven months, this government has bulldozed what it took us several decades to build. Enough is enough.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA added: “There is no one with more experience of holding those who abuse public finances to account or protecting the principles of power sharing as a deputy Speaker than John Dallat. His authority and his integrity are unimpeachable. Those are the qualities needed now in politics. I’m delighted he’ll be contesting the election.
“I also want to thank Gerry Mullan for his service as a public representative over a long period of time.”