Thu 3rd December
Describing his selection at a convention in the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry tonight (Thur) as ‘an honour and a challenge,’ Mr Durkan said he was standing on his track record of delivering on the issues for this city in Westminster and at home.
He said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by the activists of the SDLP in the Foyle constituency to be the party’s candidate for the 2010 Westminster election. I would like to thank John Hume for proposing me and Margaret Duffy for seconding my nomination.
“I have served proudly as a cross-community MP while reflecting the principles of our proud party. I will be standing before the people of this city on the basis of my track record since they elected me as their Member of Parliament in 2005 and earlier. I will also be setting out my vision for economic recovery, fast-tracked regeneration and rejuvenated communities in Derry.
“The people of Derry need a strong voice and effective representation using the Westminster seat there and elsewhere. I give you my promise - I will continue to be a champion for this city’s best interests and interests.
“In the run up to this election the SDLP will be setting out our range of positive ideas for building a better city and a better Ireland. This will not only be about choices for the next 5 years decided in Westminster, but a judgment on the DUP-Sinn Fein regime here which has left people disappointed and disillusioned. This Executive has been weak on policy, lacking in priorities and poor on performance.
“Over the past 5 years, I have been able to use my role as local MP including to secure compensation for the Desmonds pension scheme members, defend local public jobs at Foyle House and help secure the Telehouse for the city. In recent months, I have argued strongly for local businesses and jobs when major decisions about banking and economic rescues have come up.
“My broader track record is clear. I am particularly proud of having negotiated the Dublin-Derry road project into the Irish government’s National Development Plan, of delivering funding for South Wing extension at Altnagelvin, and of having secured the Integrated Development Fund that delivered positive investments such as Skeoge Business Park, the Walled City Tourism Project and the Robotics Centre at Magee.
“At a wider policy level, we had success in fighting for a strong climate change bill, opposing the ‘On the Runs’ amnesty for security forces and paramilitaries, getting the British government to agree to the Cluster Bomb Treaty, opposing ID cards and stopping 42 day detention.
“I have explained before why Westminster is where I need to be over the next 5 years, since major decisions will be made there affecting social security benefits, the spending powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the economic prospects of the North. With more public spending cuts coming, people here will need local MPs arguing strongly for our local and regional interests.
“I will use the MP seat to campaign hard on the issues that matter to Derry in Westminster, Dublin and elsewhere. Some particular priorities will include the local economy and jobs, full implementation of the Bain report on decentralisation, arguing for local Credit Unions to be allowed to deliver more services and uplifting North-South cooperation.
“Focusing on the MP role will enable me to spend more time working on North/South matters through the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement committee, on tackling the big challenges that Derry will face from Westminster and on campaigning hard on the local issues facing Derry.
“The SDLP is planning a strong grassroots campaign so that we secure the votes we need to continue to serve the people of this city though challenging times to better prospects.”
Tel 028 7136 0700
Tel 028 90 52 1837