Derry politician, Mark H. Durkan, has been crowned the ‘Most Entertaining Politician in NI’.
The award was recently bestowed upon the SDLP MLA for Foyle on BBC NI political programme ‘The View’.
“The first I heard about the award was when a few of my friends, who were watching the programme, texted me to say I won the award,” Mark told the ‘Journal’ yesterday evening.
“It’s always nice to win an award but I would prefer it if people thought of me as the politician who has delivered the most instead,” he added.
In addition to his Foyle MLA duties, Mark is also the Minister for the Environment, and he believes he has helped to deliver on many significant issues since he took over from SDLP colleague, Alex Attwood, in 2013.
“In terms of percentages, my department (the Department of the Environment) has had the highest levels of cuts to its budget. We have had to be creative with our thinking and I think we are doing a good job.
“I also brought departmental jobs to Derry and I have been steadfast in my work regarding climate change,” he said.
An example of Mark’s wit within the Stormont chamber happened last year when addressing DUP MLA Sammy Wilson on the issue of smoky coal.
“Mr Wilson stated at the outset that the report is flawed. He pointed to the absence of wood and peat. It is no secret in this Chamber that Sammy would love to get rid of Pete [Peter Robinson - DUP leader],” quipped the Foyle MLA.
Mark was successfully elected to serve as an MLA in 2011 and said, whilst he was flattered with the award he had no intentions of giving up a career in politics for a career in entertainment.
“I prefer standing up for Derry than I do stand-up comedy,” he joked.
“I find taking the less combative approach is a much better way to work alongside people. I find that you get much more done if you can be a little light-hearted every now and then.
“I am delighted with the award but my priority will always be to work for the people of Derry,” he added.