Derry is ‘tired of empty words and empty seats’- Eastwood

The SDLP Leader has said that Derry is ‘tired of empty words and empty seats’ and the city ‘deserves delivery’.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 10:28 am
Party Leader and Foyle candidate Colum Eastwood addressing the SDLP Business Breakfast at the Bishopâ€TMs Gate Hotel, Derry on Thursday morning.

Launching the party’s manifesto in Derry earlier this week, Colum Eastwood said the election in Foyle is going to be ‘incredibly close’.

“It’s a two horse race and there can only be one winner - every single vote will count,” Mr Eastwood claimed.

The SDLP is trying to win back Foyle from Sinn Féin, which won the seat in 2017 by 169 votes.

He said the threat of Brexit ‘looms over this election’ and that the economy, peace and a shared future are at stake.

The SDLP manifesto is titled ‘Stop Boris - Stop Brexit’.

Mr Eastwood criticised those who do not take their seats in Westminster as this election could be ‘potentially decisive’ on Brexit.

“History doesn’t judge those who don’t turn up at defining moments - it casts a far harsher verdict. It simply doesn’t mention them because they make no difference. You only make a difference by being there,” he said.

Mr Eastwood said that in the absence of devolution, Westminster will be making more decisions that have a ‘profound effect on us’.

“In the next two months, Westminster will decide if we are forced out of the European Union. In the next two months, it will decide and direct our future like never before. Quite literally there has been no time like the present - and it has never been more important to be present.

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

The SDLP leader said: “In this election we simply can’t afford the luxury of voicing a strong protest.

“Turning your back on Brexit and ignoring it won’t prevent it from happening. Preventing it means facing it head on - it means voting against it. It means voting for people who will go to work and vote against it.”

The party leader said the SDLP were launching their manifesto in Derry because the city is most in need of change.

“Derry is tired of empty words and tired of empty seats. Derry deserves delivery.”

Referring to the political stalemate in Stormont, Mr Eastwood said the “current semi-skimmed direct rule could be very quickly replaced by the full fat Boris Johnson version if Stormont is not restored soon.”

“Not one person in Northern Ireland has benefited from the stalemate in our politics.”

Mr Eastwood claimed that for more than 1,000 days both the DUP and Sinn Féin had been “abstaining from responsibility to deliver a government for all of our people.”

He said that during this time hospital waiting lists have got longer and people are dealing with the ‘real consequences’ of this failure.

Mr Eastwood added that this Westminster election is a chance to send those parties a message that ‘all of us have had enough’.