Among those present at Belfast’s massive anti-austerity demonstration on Friday were top SDLP figures.
One of them was south Belfast MLA Fearghal McKinney who was pressed by the News Letter about how his party could oppose the cutbacks, and remain part of the same Executive which is making them happen.
For example, the party’s Mark H Durkan currently heads the Department of the Environment, which was earmarked for the harshest reduction in spending limits of all the Stormont departments in the January budget.
He said that it was important to remember who the target was for their “weapons”, saying: “The target is Tories.”
Mr McKinney said that the SDLP had said from the outset that the budget was not good enough, and said: “If we walked out of government, we’d be leaving Sinn Fein and the DUP to simply get on with it, and would have no resource or capacity other than just our voices – and voices like these [the protestors] to do anything different about it...
“Let’s aim our bullets, if you like, or our weapons at the target, at what’s causing this problem. And what’s causing this problem is the Tory agenda.”
Sinn Fein had previously come under heavy fire for saying its politicians and supporters would attend the rallies on Friday.