Nice photo, pity about the facts

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FROM: - Cllr Johnny McGibbon, Sinn Fein.

I am writing to you in regard to an article in last week’s ‘MAIL’ on the ‘plastic bag tax’ and the resultant opposition to a levy on single use carrier bags.

Has there been a change in SDLP policy or is Dolores Kelly simply being opportunistic in posing for a photo with local traders and portraying her party as favoring the continued unrestricted use of ‘single use’ plastic bags?

In the article Ms Kelly claimed ‘Sinn Féin introduced a Plastic Bags Levy Bill, which we (the SDLP), questioned on several grounds.’ While this is a fine sweeping statement it is also bemusing and totally disingenuous. Had Mrs Kelly simply checked the Assembly record before pronouncing on this subject she could have avoided yet another gaffe by the new leadership of the SDLP.

The Assembly record of March 23, 2011 shows that the SDLP did not even speak during the debate! In fact, the Single Use Carrier Bags Bill passed the final stage without any opposition and was passed unanimously! These facts are completely at odds with Mrs Kelly’s comments following her discussion with local traders. If the SDLP had concerns why did they not even speak before the Bill was passed by the Assembly?

One has to wonder whether or not the SDLP Deputy is in tune with the ‘Collective Leadership’ principle her Leader is promoting. I would hazard a guess that new boss Alastair McDonnell won’t be too happy with this type of ‘tell them what they want to hear’ approach or are we to believe that ‘Collective’ actually means ‘Populist’.

The reality is the SDLP didn’t oppose the Single Use Carrier Bags Bill, they didn’t raise any questions at the final stage of the bill and in fact didn’t even speak during the debate!

Nice photo all the same; pity about the facts