Two SDLP councillors resign from the party over mayor selection process on Derry City and Strabane Council

Councillors Jason Barr and Shauna Cusack have both quit the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) over a selection process to choose the next Mayor of Derry City and Strabane.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has seen two councillors resign from the party over a selection process to choose the new mayor of Derry City and Strabane Council.

Cllr Jason Barr resigned from the party on Monday saying that he “simply cannot be involved in a party that doesn’t stick to party democratic processes”.

Today a second councillor has quit the party to become an independent. Shauna Cusack has been a councillor for the SDLP since 2013 and served as Mark Durkan MLA’s Office Manager for over 12 years.

In a statement, Cllr Cusack said, “to remain [in the SDLP] would be to acquiesce in the denial of local democracy”.

“I want to emphasise that the decision not to proceed with the membership ballot was made by SDLP Management and should not reflect on the Party locally, a group of solid hard working reps, who had no hand in this skewed turn of events. Please don’t penalise them for that.”

She said that she would like to “implore those blaming the person not the process, to welcome Lilian as your new mayor, and to reject and condemn any ugly, racist or hurtful language”.

Cllr Lilian Seenoi Barr is set to become the mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council in June

Cllr Seenoi-Barr made history by becoming the first black councillor to be elected in Northern Ireland, and will now be the first black mayor in Northern Ireland when appointed.

Since her appointment was announced, she has suffered a range of abuse online, the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MP said the “racially motivated attacks on Lilian have been coordinated by far-right political actors hell-bent on spreading misinformation to fuel their own appalling ideology.”

Cllr Jason Barr quit the SDLP on Monday saying that values that the party was built upon is seemingly being ignored

Both councillors have said they will serve the remainder of their mandate as independents.

The SDLP now have eight councillors on Derry City and Strabane Council.

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  • Ed MacKenna says:

    Freedom of speech, eh?

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