SDLP Youth held their annual Conference today.
It was a little low-key.
Many of the leading young members were otherwise engaged…canvassing for the upcoming elections. A lot of them like Thomas Larkham (Lurgan), Ben Niblock (South Derry), Dermot Henderson (Derry) and Malachy Quinn (Coalisland) are standing for election to their local councils.
Alex Attwood was in a relaxed mode. It is his birthday (55 if youre asking) and a few points from the speech.
Every party with “something to hide” has been rallied by the Haass Talks. The notion to forget the Past has been given hope.
SDLP gets a lot of respect from such diverse victims group as the Pat Finnucane Centre,the Ballymurphy Massacre Group and the (predominantly Unionist) Innocent Victims Group. Alex seemed optimistic.
Alasdair McDonnell spoke mainly on party organisation…with the focus on the Elections.
SDLP is in better shape.
With the deadline for nominating candidates just three days away:
SDLP has 120 candidates already in place.
(FROM LATER CONVERSATIONS: A few are likely to be added but it might not be possible to have a candidate in every area…it is actually possible to have every area covered but in some loyalist areas a problem in getting ten local signatures).
The Gender Balance…the target for SDLP was to have at least 30% Female…at todays date it is nearer 36%…it might change a little before the deadline on Tuesday.
Fresh Blood…55 of the 120 are standing in their first Election.
Still work to be done: Identifying talent for 2020.
SDLP needs Orators, Legislators, “Media Gurus” ( I think this means Bloggers) and that essential Person to Person contact.
The rest of the day….a panel discussion…on the how to get young people involved and “workshops”.