24th March 2011
SDLP Deputy Leader Comments on End of
Patsy McGlone MLA:
"Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. Mar leascheannaire an SDLP, tá mé
an-bhrodúil seasamh anseo inniu agus labhairt ar son an pháirtí, go háirid
mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an Tionól seo agus le comh-bhaill de chuid an
"I am particularly heartened and proud to be here today to thank you, the
Assembly, its Members and its staff, and to thank my party colleagues for
their work, support and co-operation through the past four years in this
"I thank those who have resigned from the Assembly from our party ranks —
Carmel Hanna from South Belfast and Mark Durkan from Foyle — for their term
in this Assembly. They played a role as Ministers at various times through
the lifetime of the Assembly, and I am sure that their role has been
respected by many others across the community. I welcome their replacements,
Conall McDevitt and Pól Callaghan, to our ranks. Tá fáilte romhaibh beirt.
"I thank PJ Bradley and Mary Bradley, two of my party colleagues who have
served their constituents in this Assembly and at constituency level
exceptionally well, as well-known, well-established grass-roots community
workers. I thank them for their sterling service to their constituents,
their party and their country. Go raibh maith agaibh beirt.
"I also wish well those from other parties who will not seek re-election,
many of whom I have become acquainted with and count as friends, as they
move back to what many of us now regard as normal life. As public
representatives, we perhaps do not get that chance. I wish them all very
well in their new life or, as they may see it, their return to normal life.
"In the Assembly, we have had differences and various points of view.
However, I hope that, as the institution builds, we gradually come to
respect one another, our diverse views and our differing political opinions,
as we work together for the common good. The peace process has completed its
task, and stability is now taken as read. The political process must now
deliver much more. People look to the Assembly for hope. All our people want
prosperity, jobs and a decent Health Service and education system. That is
especially the case among our young people, far too many of whom now leave
this country on boats planes. It is up to us to give them hope and stability
for their future.
"I wish to thank party colleagues who have served the party extremely well
and with dignity and honour at ministerial level. My colleague and party
leader, Margaret Ritchie, and Alex Attwood succeeded in delivering the
highest level of newbuild social housing for many years for the many people
who await what many of us take as the most basic right — a roof over their
head. I pay special tribute to them.
"At a personal level, Mr Speaker, I have already commended you for the time
that you have put in and for your patience. I also commend the Deputy
Speakers, who have put so much into the Assembly, and all the Assembly
staff, who provide support to make the place work and to facilitate our job
as elected Members. I pay tribute especially to the staff of the Committees
on which I served during this mandate: the Environment Committee, the
Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Public Accounts
Committee. This year, the Public Accounts Committee shone a bright light
into the mediocrity of some elements of the public sector and the bad
practice of some people within it. However, as an elected representative, I
have worked extremely well with many others in that public sector.
Unfortunately, I cannot pay personal tribute to those people because we
would be here all day, but they know who they are.
"Finally, despite the combative nature of this Assembly at times, Members
have got to know one another and maybe established friendships. I hope that
we will ultimately lay the building blocks for the trust that is so
necessary to bring about reconciliation in this part of our country, the
reconciliation for which the people of Ireland have yearned for so many
years. I look to the future and to our receiving a mandate in which that
trust will be solid and reconciliation will see a new society and a new
Ireland. Ar aghaidh linn le chéile chuig an ré úr sin. I look forward to
that new society."
Notes to Editors:
Hansard record here