SDLP stands for true republicanism, says Hume

12/02/2005 - 21:05:18

The nationalist SDLP stands for true republicanism, former party leader and Nobel prize winner John Hume insisted today.

In his last party conference speech as the MP for Foyle, Mr Hume expressed disappointment that the Good Friday Agreement’s implementation was being frustrated.

And he also predicted that his protégé, SDLP leader Mark Durkan, would defend the party’s seat successfully in Foyle at the next general election.

He told party colleagues: “ The new generation of SDLP activists must work for the better Ireland we believe in. We stand for true unity of catholic, protestant and dissenter.”

And in a swipe at Sinn Féin and the IRA, he added: “We stand for true republicanism because it is not true republicanism to try to unite catholic, protestant and dissenter with a gun.”

Mr Hume, who has been the MP for Foyle since 1983, said his time as a public representative was now drawing to an end.

He urged the party to stand firm for a new agreed Ireland and said he would support them fully.

“This is the final time I will address our party conference as the member for Foyle,” he said. “By the time we meet again next year Mark Durkan will be a member of parliament for this constituency.

“There is no better man for the job and I have full confidence that the people of Derry will stand shoulder to shoulder with Mark.

“We know we need an MP who is trusted by the people of Derry, who will work for all the people of Derry, someone who will secure investment and fight our corner for better public services and ensure our needs are reflected at all levels.”

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