SDLP colleagues pay tribute to retiring Councillor

January 11, 2016

SDLP colleagues have paid tribute to Councillor Donnelly as she announced her intention to retire from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council at the end of January.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: “Over a long career Geraldine has personified integrity, decency and a commitment to equality that are core tenants of the SDLP. Her notable work with the Quinn family in their struggle for the truth following the murder of Paul in 2007 demonstrated her dedication to justice and I know she will be missed as a member of the SDLP team in Armagh.”

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said “Geraldine Donnelly has been one of the most diligent, hardworking and well respected public representatives on this island and her contribution will be missed by the community in south Armagh.

“I have had the privilege of working with Geraldine since my own election in 2003, both in her role as a councillor and in my constituency office.  Throughout all that time, she has been an extremely hard working representative who has been very passionate about the area she represents.  Her compassion and empathy for those in need have always struck me as her strongest qualities.

“As well as being very passionate about south Armagh and its people, Geraldine’s other great love is her family and her grandchildren.  I know she is looking forward to spending much more time with them and I wish her and her family every health and happiness in the future.”

Karen McKevitt MLA added, “Geraldine Donnelly’s departure leaves big boots to fill politically, she really is one in a million.  Geraldine and I were elected onto Council on the same day in 2005 and she took over from me as Deputy Mayor of Newry and Mourne. She is a real gem, a very good friend and our friendship goes back over twenty-five years.

“Politics can be a tough game, especially for women but we learned the ropes together, we have the same approach to people and life and I know that she hasn’t taken this decision lightly, politics here needs more people like Geraldine Donnelly.  Her friendly, warm and sincere approach is admirable, she wears her heart on her sleeve and what more can you ask for in a public representative.

“Geraldine is SDLP through and through, and whilst she is taking a back seat from elected politics she will be there in the background working away.  She will be on the doorsteps of south Armagh with me in the weeks and months ahead, sure it wouldn’t be the same without her.   I wish her, Sean and all the family well in the time ahead.”

Local representative Justin McNulty added, “Geraldine Donnelly has been a great voice for the people of south Armagh over the years and her contribution to the local community has been immense.

“When you speak to the people on the door steps, it’s clear to see the admiration and respect local people have for her and this is rightly so.  Her tenacity and her determination to resolve issues she is involved in is second to none, she is and always has been a beacon of integrity.”