Northern Ireland news

SDLP will not replace Nichola Mallon as caretaker infrastructure minister

The SDLP will not appoint a caretaker infrastructure minister to replace Nichola Mallon
Connla Young

THE SDLP will not replace former infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon with a caretaker after she lost her north Belfast seat last week.

The former minister and SDLP deputy leader was one of several high profile party representatives to lose their seats.

The loss of Ms Mallon, who is also a former mayor of Belfast, has delivered a blow to the SDLP, which now has just eight seats at Stormont.

It had been suggested that Colum Eastwood's party would nominate a caretaker minister of infrastructure until the political deadlock is broken.

However, the SDLP leader said no such nomination will be made.

Mr Eastwood urged everyone to play their part in forming an executive.

"The result has changed the shape of the assembly and the SDLP will fully respect the determination of the electorate," he said.

"We would encourage others to do likewise and form an Executive immediately."

Mr Eastwood confirmed Ms Mallon will not be replaced.

“Without a mandate for government, the SDLP will not provide political cover for others to delay executive formation or resist the nomination of a first and deputy first minister," he said.

"We will not, therefore, provide a caretaker infrastructure minister to cover the DUPs blushes as children go hungry, parents sit in cold homes and sick people wait years for treatment."

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