SDLP denies party in-fighting was behind City Hall reshuffle

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Pat Convery, left, is the new leader of the SDLP on Belfast City Council, replacing Cllr Tim Attwood Former Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Pat Convery, left, is the new leader of the SDLP on Belfast City Council, replacing Cllr Tim Attwood
By Evan Short

The new leader of the SDLP group on Belfast City Council has denied that party in-fighting is behind the City Hall reshuffle.

Councillor Tim Attwood said he’s “passing on the torch” to his colleague Councillor Pat Convery. For his part, Cllr Convery, a former Lord Mayor, asked if divisions within the party in Belfast had led to the move, said: “Not as far as I know.”

Cllr Attwood has held the role of SDLP Council group leader since 2011. Speaking to Daily Belfast, he said stepping down from the role is “a chance to share the responsibility amongst the party”.

“I have been SDLP Belfast City Council group leader for the past four years and with the new super council coming into effect it’s a chance to give someone within the party a chance,” he said.

“I’m passing on the torch, so to speak, but it will allow me to spend more time on the ground in my constituency here in West Belfast.”

North Belfast Councillor Pat Convery said the role is “an opportunity to try and work with other parties and to work with colleagues to try and do the best we can for the city”.

“It’s just every year the party makes its mind up about who takes what position,” he said. “Tim had been there for a number of years so they just decided to have a reshuffle and that was it.

“I haven’t had a chance to settle in yet, given the election campaign, but I have had the role before and it’s an opportunity to try and work with other parties and to work with colleagues to try and do the best we can for the city, especially for North Belfast, so that’s really it. I think there needs to be a continuation of the investment programme and I would like to see a considerable amount of it hopefully going to the north of the city over the next number of years.”

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