‘Sinn Fein blocking Nationalist speaker of the Assembly’ – Bradley

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Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley MLA has expressed his huge disappointment that Sinn Féin have blocked the election of a nationalist speaker of the Assembly this week when they refused to support SDLP nominee John Dallat MLA by putting party politics before principle.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley

Speaking to Newry Times, Bradley explained, “On Monday we had the opportunity to create a watershed moment in our Assembly and in our politics by electing a nationalist speaker of the assembly but it is hugely disappointing that Sinn Féin would seek to block this significant milestone. “The SDLP firmly believe now is the time for someone from the nationalist community to be speaker of our Assembly. For too long this Assembly has not been reflective of the population it serves. That is why the SDLP supported and voted for Sinn Féin’s Mitchell McLoughlin. “Yet Sinn Féin refused to support John Dallat when it became clear that Mitchell McLoughlin would not secure the seat because Sinn Féin’s backroom deal with the DUP had fallen apart,” he insisted. “It is massively disappointing that yet again Sinn Féin is allowing narrow party political self-interest to over-rule what is best for the people. The culture of cosy deals and back room politics has and continues to fail everyone who voted for this Assembly. “The fact that Sinn Féin would rather see no speaker rather than someone from the nationalist community who is not of their choosing is unbelievable. The SDLP MLA continued, “John Dallat has served as a public representative for 37 years and has served this Assembly and its members very well over the past 7 years as Deputy Speaker. “John has shown leadership, integrity, impartiality and good judgement in that time, displaying the ability and capacity to take on the role of the Speaker of the Assembly. “At a time when this Assembly and our Executive are in crisis; as we head into talks to determine our future; it was even more crucial to have someone of the calibre of John Dallat as Speaker of the Assembly. Bradley added, “John Dallat is not only eminently qualified for the role but someone from the nationalist community who would ensure that all traditions in Northern Ireland are respected and reflected. Sinn Féin have prevented that this week by putting party politics before principle.”
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