Labour Youth Statement on SDLP Partnership with Fianna Fáil

Labour Youth
13 February 2019

Labour Youth have condemned the new partnership agreement between the SDLP and Fianna Fáil and called for a new Northern Ireland Labour Party to be formed.

Speaking on the matter, Chair of Labour Youth Patrick Ahern said:

“It is deeply disappointing to see the SDLP entering a partnership agreement with Fianna Fáil not only because it goes against the social democratic values on which the party was founded but also because of the manner in which the party leadership railroaded it through, during the course of which they silenced dissent, sidelined those with misgivings about the partnership and even suspended their Standing Orders committee for the duration of the meeting to vote on the partnership, in blatant disregard to their party’s own constitution. The fact that voting opened while delegates were still speaking on the motion is perhaps worst of all as people started to leave the room in order to vote while delegates who have stood by the party through thick and thin were trying to give their view on the partnership.

“The immediate fallout from this is disastrous for the SDLP. They’ve already lost perhaps their best MLA. The chairs of SDLP Youth, Women, and LGBT+ have all resigned and in the case of SDLP Youth most of their executive has resigned in addition. And all of this with less than three months to go to the next local elections.

“Noting the strong statement issued by the Party of European Socialists (PES) on the eve of the SDLP conference it is imperative that the PES now move to immediately examine the new alignment between Fianna Fáil and SDLP with a view to removing the SDLP from membership.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to the 30% of delegates who voted against the partnership motion and all the SDLP activists who have resigned their positions in protest at the partnership for standing by their social democratic principles. Furthermore, I’d like to appeal to them to over the coming months regroup and start work to form their own party and for the British and Irish labour parties to come together and provide support and assistance to them in setting up this new party.”


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