Councillor Pat Catney has been officially declared the SDLP’s candidate for Lagan Valley in the upcoming general election.
The longstanding Killultagh Councillor was selected at the SDLP Lisburn branch AGM.
“This is going to be the most unpredictable election facing the electorate since 1974. We will undoubtedly be facing a hung Parliament and possibly a minority Government. Every MP is going to count and every vote is going to matter more than they have for a generation.
“I feel this places a massive responsibility upon me to offer Lagan Valley a clear alternative in the type of voice that represents them. To offer them a chance to take a step away from the green and orange dogma and towards a different type of politics that puts the needs of the Northern Irish people at it’s very heart.”
One issue Mr Catney said he was passionate about was the reduction of emergency services at Lagan Valley Hospital. “From the very beginning I have been a vocal opponent of this decision,” he said, “as I believe that stripping back the services our local hospital can provide is putting unnecessary pressure on our medical professionals across the county and is putting the lives of our citizens at risk.”
Mr Catney condemned Conservative austerity policies as a recipe for disaster.
“We need to focus more on in investing in the future of our society.,” he said. “This is no truer than in education, where the savage cuts to our schools and colleges is making it more and more difficult for young people to achieve their potential.”
The SDLP candidate said we could not afford five more years of “timidly allowing the money that Northern Ireland needs to be cut without a fight
“A change has to be made,” he said, “and I and my team want to offer that change to every person in Lagan Valley.”