Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) is a constitutional nationalist political party of Northern Ireland and for most of the period since its foundation in 1970 was the main party of the nationalist (Catholic) population. Although the SDLP has as one aim (a united Ireland) it has maintained a principled opposition to the use of terrorist violence to achieve political ends, and its activists and supporters have suffered violence and intimidation by the IRA and Sinn Fein. The party was led between 1970 and 1979 by Gerry Fit, and between 1979 and 2001 by John Hume. Since 2001 the leader of the SDLP has been Mark Durkan, MP for the Foyle constituency.
The party's aims are set out in its vision statement:
- The SDLP’s vision is a reconciled people living in a united, just and prosperous new Ireland.
- As the party of civil rights, the SDLP is working for an Ireland free from poverty, prejudice and injustice; a vibrant country of energy, enterprise and endeavour, where economic prosperity delivers better public services and greater opportunities for all.
- The SDLP wants to build an Ireland where conflict, violence and sectarianism become footnotes to our past; where reconciliation, equality and inclusion are chapter headings in the new story we will write together. We will build a better Ireland where we truly cherish all the children of the nation equally.
- The SDLP wants this generation and those that will follow to live in an Ireland that stands tall in the world as a champion of global justice, environmental protection & sustainable development; an Ireland that stands out as a beacon of hope for peace, democracy, human rights and respect for diversity.