Former West Belfast MP Dr Joe Hendron has said that the party’s Assembly candidate Paul Doherty evokes the spirit of the founders of the party.
Dr Hendron, who also served as MLA for West Belfast and on Belfast City Council, said he could think of no better man than Mr Doherty to follow in his footsteps.
He said Mr Doherty had stepped up to help his community in their hour of need and he had no doubt he would continue to do so at Stormont.
Dr Hendron said:
“Paul Doherty will be a first class community representative. Day and night he works to help the people of West Belfast with no thought for himself or the personal sacrifices he has made. When people need help he is there, whether it’s a family on the Falls Road or the Shankill who need some shopping to tide them over, local school pupils in need of uniforms or gathering aid for refugees fleeing unimaginable horrors in Ukraine, Paul Doherty is there.
“He has a desire to help the community and improve the lives of people in West Belfast. That should be what inspires all who enter politics. It’s why the SDLP was founded, to fight for fairness and equality for the nationalist community, whether it be in education, housing or employment opportunities, following decades of discrimination. Paul evokes that spirit, he has seen how badly people in West Belfast have been let down over the past few decades and he wants to change that.
“During my political career the success I was very lucky to enjoy came about because people in West Belfast viewed me as a cross-community representative who truly wanted to help people and cared about them and their families.
“After all these years there is still so much poverty in West Belfast. In 2022 people are still struggling to obtain decent quality housing, a good education and a well-paying job. Through his foodbank and community activism Paul Doherty has done everything he can to help people, but it’s Stormont where real change can happen, where people can influence and make decisions that truly transform the lives of people in our communities.
"Paul Doherty works to make life better for families in West Belfast each and every day and I know he’ll stop at nothing to be an MLA who delivers for people here.”