Northern Ireland news

Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell's London-based lobbying firm dissolved

TEAMED-UP: From left, Alasdair McDonnell, Ray Hayden and Danny Kinahan are directors of Upton Public Affairs

A LOBBYING company set up by two former MPs has been dissolved less than four years after its launch.

Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell and Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan teamed up with ex-UTV journalist Ray Hayden in 2017 to create Upton Public Affairs.

The company was established just months after the two former Westminster representatives lost their seats.

Mr Kinahan, who a year ago was appointed Northern Ireland's first Veterans Commissioner, left the company in 2019.

At the time of the London-based firm's launch, Dr McDonnell, who led the SDLP for four years until 2015, told The Irish News it was "nothing to get wildly excited about".

"We're just keen to help people generate jobs," he said.

"Despite all the doom and gloom, quite a lot of businesses are constructive and hopeful."

However, it appears the company failed to attract significant business.

Its last filed accounts from 2019 show that it had assets of £16,270 and no employees.

Upton Public Affairs was issued with notice that it would be struck off in April before being formally dissolved earlier this month.

Mr Hayden, a one-time adviser to Stormont economy minister Sir Reg Empey, continues to run Anglewise, a public relations firm he founded more than a decade ago with his wife Nuala.

Both Dr McDonnell and Mr Hayden declined to comment.

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