SDLP pursuing ambitious agenda at Stormont
North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said that this mandate must be about delivery and that the SDLP had tabled proposals for four new bills on equality, housing and homelessness, regional economic equality and the Irish language on the Assembly’s first day.
“Today SDLP MLAs got straight down to the business of legislation by submitting proposals for four bills. Immediately after taking our seats, we tabled proposals for four ambitious and progressive pieces of legislation. We did that because this Assembly must be different from the last, people rightly expect more from us as their elected representatives and the SDLP will deliver for them.
“The spiralling numbers of individuals and families without the security of a quality social or affordable home is a travesty and a failure that this new Assembly must address. Ending homelessness is doable is the political will exists to achieve it. A new statutory framework is vital. That is why I have submitted proposals for a new Housing and Homelessness Bill.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA has tabled proposals for a Regional Equality Bill that will secure equality of investment in infrastructure and skills across Northern Ireland. This was a key manifesto commitment by the SDLP.
“The SDLP sought a mandate for change in the election. In the Programme for Government negotiations and on the floor of the Assembly, we will be a progressive force for change. That’s reflected in the comprehensive list of proposals we’ve made for legislation already.
“One of our key manifesto pledges was a fairness promise to people living in areas which have been abandoned by the DUP and Sinn Féin. Communities in North and West Belfast and West of the Bann which have suffered from a chronic lack of investment in infrastructure, jobs and skills leading to long term unemployment and deprivation. That cannot continue. We’ll seek to place a statutory duty on government to first and foremost focus on investment in those communities which were left behind and then to spread investment equally across all regions.
“This is a new mandate and other parties should expect a different approach from the SDLP.”
SDLP West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood has tabled proposals for an Equality Bill which will introduce Marriage Equality for same sex couples in Northern Ireland as well as tackling serious challenges on gender equality and LGBT equality.
SDLP Mid Ulster MLA and Gaeilgeoir Patsy McGlone has tabled proposals for an Irish Language Bill to protect and enhance the rights of Irish speakers.
Dúirt Patsy McGlone,
“Tá sé thar am dúinn mar Chomhthionól aitheantas ceart oifigiúil a thabhairt don Ghaeilge. Sin an rud atá romhainn anois, más fíor don ionannas cultúir.
“It’s past time for us as an Assembly to officially recognise Irish. Much of the work on this has already been carried out by Irish language groups like Pobal. So let’s see action now.”