19 May 2022

Aontú candidate Doyle slams "whitewash election strategy" of SDLP and Sinn Féin

Aontú candidate Doyle slams "whitewash election strategy" of SDLP and Sinn Féin

Emmet Doyle: "I have shown the lengths I am willing to go to at Council and in the community to serve our people."

Aontú Foyle candidate, Emmet Doyle, has slammed both the SDLP and Sinn Féin for seeking to employ a “whitewash election strategy” ahead of next month's Assembly election.

Cllr Doyle, who is currently represents the Ballyarnett, accused the pair of seeking to deny their failures during two decades in Stormont and that “activism outside of election time” was something that both parties had “forgotten about”.

He also accused the parties of shutting down debate citing a viral video clip from an online hustings debate where SDLP candidate, Sinéad McLaughlin, was critical of those she encountered whilst canvassing who had pro-life issues as their main priority ahead of the cost of living crisis and also comments from pro-life supporters in response to a social media post from Sinn Féin's Padraig Delargy being deleted.

“So desperate are the SDLP and Sinn Fein to hold onto their seats in Foyle,” said Cllr Doyle, “that they are openly seeking to brainwash the electorate into thinking they haven’t been in the failing Stormont Executive for nearly twenty years.

“Their ‘we’ll fix everything on May 6’ message to voters is not working as the reception they’ve received at hustings has shown, and when they preach change they do so only to highlight that a change means leaving them behind.

“Between candidates telling voters to stop questioning them at doors and ‘get a life’ or censoring opposition views on their Facebook pages, these two parties that have promised the moon and stars to people for their votes at this election don’t seem to have grasped that change is coming and more people are looking to Aontú as an alternative voice for Derry.

“I have shown the lengths I am willing to go to at Council and in the community to serve our people.

“Activism outside of election time is something these parties have long forgotten about. On May 5 I believe people will make a definitive change of direction and opt to have someone in their corner unravelling the spin and the coverup of failure from parties that have run out of steam.”

In response, SDLP Foyle Assembly candidate Mark H Durkan hit back accusing Cllr Doyle of spending most of his time “attacking the SDLP”.

He said: “The SDLP have always worked to deliver for the people of Derry and we are proud of our record.

“While other Executive parties have put their own interests ahead of those of local people we have always worked constructively to tackle the issues impacting on people’s lives. We are frustrated at the lack of progress on a number of key issues, but the way to address this is by returning more SDLP MLAs.

“One only has to look at everything achieved by SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon during the last mandate to see what we can deliver when we work to build a better future for everyone here.

“As a direct result of her work Derry will be one of the first cities in these islands to have its own zero emission bus fleet, we are close to seeing the A6 road project completed and she has brought renewed energy to the Derry-Coleraine rail upgrade.

“For all his claims about wanting to help people, Councillor Doyle bizarrely seems to spend most of his time attacking the SDLP instead of the two parties that have been leading the Executive for the past 15 years. During my time as an MLA my constituency office and those of my colleagues have worked tirelessly to help local people in any way we can and our door is always open.

“People in Derry know where to go when they need help and support, they know who is working on the issues that matter to them, the SDLP put people first, we always have and always will.”

A Sinn Féin spokesperson added: “From day one after this election, Sinn Féin will be ready to go back to the Executive and work with others to continue supporting workers and families struggling with the global cost-of-living crisis.

“And to deliver £1 billion of extra funding for the health service to recruit more doctors and nurses, tackle waiting lists and fund mental health and cancer services.

“This election is about the future and offering people a positive vision of parties working together to get things done.

“It seems Councillor Doyle’s party are more focused on negativity which has been evident from the fact they were forced to apologise for a scathing attack on Irish Medium schools in the city in party election literature.”

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