Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

McNulty hails SDLP/ Fianna Fáil deal ‘a partnership for a new Ireland’

Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty has expressed his support for proposals put forward by the leadership of the SDLP and Fianna Fáil at the recent partnership launch in Belfast. 

Speaking after last Thursday’s announcement that the SDLP and Fianna Fáil had entered an “unprecedented and historic” partnership, McNulty said “politics is changing across these islands, old responses to new challenges will no longer cut it.” 

SDLP party leader Colum Eastwood and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin announced a series of common policies they say are aimed at restoring public faith in politics. They have pledged to deliver politics which works to resolve the powersharing crisis and moves to unite Ireland’s people amid the threat posed to north/south cooperation by Brexit.

Supporting the historic partnership, Mr. McNulty said “politics has moved onto new ground and that new ground is crying out for a politics of creativity and courage to deliver for people in the changing context we find ourselves in.”

“The future we envisioned over twenty years ago, when the SDLP- alongside many other parties- delivered the Good Friday Agreement, has not come to pass. Division and deadlock have characterised the institutions that were built on hopes of a shared and prosperous future.

 The Newry and Armagh MLA said the partnership is the beginning of a process “that will work to deliver a new Ireland envisioned by giants such as Hume and Lemass.”

“Through a programme of joint working groups, research and public engagement we will work with Fianna Fáil on proposing alternatives for critical issues, such as our stagnant economy, investment along the border regions, better public services and cross-border services post-Brexit. Obviously Brexit will be the first priority and together we will continue to push for the Backstop and against the prospect of a return to a hard border.

“Together, we have once again committed to uniting our people here. And only through ‘change’ can we reconcile our society and move forward into a brighter future. That future will not be built through an old and narrow vision of Ireland and our people. I firmly believe a forward facing, robust and dynamic initiative, intent on putting people before politics, has the real potential to deliver just that.”

Mr McNulty added that the party had “always made hard choices for the betterment of all our people, even when those choices cost us dear,” and encouraged people to be open minded about the process “whilst reflecting upon where we are now.” 

“Twenty years ago, through political partnership that reached beyond on our own party, we brought peace to our people. Twenty years on, we are once again determined in our resolve to deliver a type of shared and prosperous Ireland that people here are so deserving off.”

The SDLP is set to hold a special conference in Newry next month where members are expected to vote on proposals for the new partnership with Fianna Fáil.