SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has called on political leaders to display more generosity, selflessness and common endeavour in 2023.
The Foyle MP said that political discomfort is no reason to deny people in Northern Ireland their right to the government they chose in 2022 and has called for the immediate resumption of devolution to address the real challenges facing people this winter.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“This has been a turbulent political year. The collapse of power sharing government has had an impact far beyond mere optics or sentiment. It has made a material and detrimental difference to the position thousands of families across Northern Ireland face as they struggle to heat their homes, feed their families and gather some sense of hope about their future. The politics of despair has failed struggling families, striking workers trying to get a fair deal and all those who deserve and rightly demand better from politicians.
“I accept and understand the political discomfort that many feel following the hard Brexit forced on our people. It was not of our choosing and, as with much this Tory Government has done, we have been left to deal with the fallout. And while we cannot alter the events of the last seven years, we can choose to change our approach to these challenges and our attitude to one another.
“In the 25th anniversary year of the Good Friday Agreement, we need political leaders to display more of the generosity, selflessness and common endeavour that has characterised our greatest achievements. That can only happen if we leave the politics of division and deadlock in our past. Improving relations between the British Government and European Commission, for example, provide a platform for us all to find consensus rather than revelling in further dispute.
“2023 will also be a year for the SDLP to continue our dedicated work to unite our people and unite this island. Our national conversation about a New Ireland will continue at pace with further engagement and dialogue aimed at producing a road map to a new future together.
“I sincerely hope that 2023 will see the early resumption of devolved government in the North. Despite our clear differences, I have always believed that we can accomplish so much more by working and governing together in the common interests of our communities than by allowing London to intervene in their own narrow interests. The SDLP will spill our sweat, as we always have, to achieve that goal.”