SDLP leader Mark Durkan insisted today that now is not the time for his party to merge with a southern partner.
From the PA report:
“I have said before the realignment of politics in the north and the island at large is a matter for the future,” the former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister said.
“It is not for now.
“Our overriding concern should be building the Good Friday Agreement. We should be looking at implementing the Agreement as it was mandated by people throughout Ireland.
“There are many of the parts of the Agreement which have still to be established – institutions like the North South people’s forum which would bring people from different parts of the Ireland to work together, challenge and be challenged on issues which effect everyone on the island.
“The whole question of realignment cannot be addressed in a false or forced manner.
“It should not be done by parties looking for quick fixes. If parties go for realignment, it has to be the right reason at the right time.”
As the report makes clear the dilemma for the SDLP is that the party is divided between those sympathetic to Fianna Fail and the Irish Labour Party.