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Statement by Mark Durkan, then Leader of the SDLP, at Leeds Castle, 18 September 2004

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Text: Mark Durkan ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Mark Durkan, then leader of the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP), Leeds Castle, 18 September 2004


"The SDLP stood firm for the Good Friday Agreement and refused DUP attempts to undermine its fundamentals. Progress was made. The talks were positive but not conclusive and nobody should underestimate the number of issues, especially on the institutions, that still have to be resolved. Including on Strand one, North-South and the transfer of justice.

The DUP are trying to retro-fit majority rule on the Agreement. The SDLP are not going to accept that, or any device that allows them to ground nationalist ministers. Instead, we have proposals that are consistent with the Agreement for improving its operation and we stand for the Agreement. Because in these negotiations we have stood strong for the Agreement, and in the negotiations that follow the SDLP can be relied on to defend and develop the Agreement, especially the North-South agenda."

Turning to possible moves from the IRA

"I hope to see positive movement from the IRA. If it happen it will be long awaited, long wanted and long overdue. I hope that it will help relax the DUP in its negotiations. Because the SDLP will not relax in its support for the Agreement."

Turning to the Pat Finucane case

"Tony Blair gave the SDLP a commitment at Weston Park. We pushed him in these negotiations to honour that commitment, and we were forthright that any attempt at a private inquiry will not wash. There can be no cover-up in the inquiry. The whole truth must come out. We expect Tony Blair to move in the coming days. We will judge his actions against Judge Cory's requirement for a public inquiry."


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