Matthew Carson, the chairperson for LGBT+ issues in Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has resigned after the political party decided to enter into a partnership with Fianna Fáil.
The party’s leader Colum Eastwood welcomed the partnership, claiming it would “build a better future for the years ahead”.
Caoimhe McNeill and Matthew Corr – the SDLP’s former chairs of Women and Youth issues respectively, resigned alongside Carson.
Additionally, Claire Hanna, one of the SDLP’s most senior members and the party’s former Brexit spokesperson has resigned from her position within the party. Hanna has also stood down as a member of the SDLP’s assembly group. She will, however, remain a member of the party, and continue her role as the South Belfast representative of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which is currently closed.
Similarly, Carson, McNeill and Corr have stated that they will continue to campaign for the party’s candidates in future elections.
In a joint statement, the three former chairs outlined their objection to the party’s partnership with Fianna Fáil as well as the way in which the decision was reached.
Corr shared the statement on Twitter with the caption “A very difficult decision, but today I resign as Chair of the SDLP Youth”.
The statement reads:
“Calls for respect and party unity ring hollow when a coach and horses has been driven through the proper procedure which exists to facilitate a debate on equal terms, and allow the party to come together after.”
A joint letter from the Chairpersons of SDLP Youth, SDLP Women and SDLP LGBT+
A very difficult decision, but today I resign as Chair of SDLP Youth pic.twitter.com/YfnFQHaBKC
— Matthew | Maitiú Ó Corra (@mpcorr) February 10, 2019
The statement continued:
“Voting opened while debate was ongoing, allowing people to vote before they had heard all points of view.
“This was extremely discourteous to speakers of every side.
“There can be no reasonable debate when the terms of the debate are arbitrary and extra-constitutional.”
The statement continued:
“Our commitment to electing progressives who can make a difference to the lives of our people remains unwavering. But a line must be drawn – party members will not be treated like this without consequence.”
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