In an attention-seeking outburst during the Assembly budget debate the SDLP’s Pól Callaghan described the budget proposals as not fit for purpose.
It would seem that it is the SDLP and Pól Callaghan who are not fit for purpose. Recently there was criticism because they claimed there was no guarantee the Dungiven by-pass would go ahead. When Minister, Conor Murphy announced that funding for this project was indeed earmarked in the current spending plans they then came up with a wish list of other excuses for not supporting the Budget.
Pól Callaghan listed the Radiotherapy Unit, the completion of the A6, expansion of Magee among his demands for funding by this budget. Yet the reality is, that the SDLP published its economic proposals just before Christmas, months after all the other parties had published their ideas. And nowhere in their document was there any mention of these projects. But don’t worry Pól, instead of continually complaining and doing nothing about it, Sinn Féin will continue to seek ways of ensuring that these projects will be delivered.
The bulk of what was contained in the SDLP ‘proposals’ were in fact ideas that had been put forward at the Budget Review Group (BRG) meetings by other parties.
The main tenets of the SDLP proposals consisted of support for privatisation. As well as proposing selling off City of Derry Airport and Port and Harbour – it advocated the privatisation of car parks, MOT centres, Forests and the Housing Executive Headquarters, Belfast Port, and Rate Collections service.
It also wants to ‘Mutualise’ the water service leading inevitably to water taxes.
During the recent Westminster election campaign the SDLP claimed it was imperative that they be elected so that they could stop the Tory cuts. How effective have their MP’s been in that regard?
They are now trying to blame the parties here because they couldn’t deliver on their false promises. One has to ask, is it the Assembly budget or Pól Callaghan and the SDLP who are not fit for purpose?
Martina Anderson MLA