In the midst of the seemingly permanent stalemate at Stormont here has been speculation that the SDLP maybe planning tomerge with Fianna Fail.
In response, Irish Labour leader Brendan Howlin appeared to suggest that if the SDLP/FF merger took place, Irish Labour would contest elections in the North to provide an alternative for Labour-ist SDLP voters and members.
He had previously hinted that Irish Labour and UK Labour might jointly stand candidates in NI.
However, Howlin very soon rowed back from this position and clarified that what he had really meant was that Irish Labour would lend moral support to non-Fianna Fail SDLP people, and that the Irish Labour Party was not planning to contest elections in Northern Ireland any time soon.
Since the leadership success of Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour Party has grown rapidly in the North.
Its constituency party, Labour Party Northern NI, is firmly cross-community and anti-sectarian and campaigns on a range of socialist “for the many not the few” policy issues.
The UK Labour Party is currently reviewing its policy of not contesting elections in NI, taking account of the new SDLP/Fianna Fail development.
Labour Party NI has also built links with the trade union movement and recently Len McCluskey stated that Unite the Union was moving towards supporting Labour fighting elections in NI.
Labour Party NI wishes to develop fraternal links with all Labour parties throughout these islands and beyond, in the resistance to the ravages of failed Tory policies.
As such, Labour Party NI would welcome to its ranks disaffected SDLP members who are more inclined to the Labour tradition.
Labour Party NI of course also welcomes dissatisfied members of all parties in the North.
Padraig Murphy, chairman, Labour Party NI