SDLP And Its History

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In his welcome to SDLP members and guests to an Economic Forum yesterday, the first words Vice-Chair Fearghal McKinney said was a tribute to Paddy Wilson, the founder member murdered forty years ago this week.
History is a continuum…not just about the Past. Its as much about the Present and the Future.
After Fearghal spoke, I looked around the room. I realised that I was probably the youngest person in room who had ever spoken to Paddy Wilson. There were others there, Alasdair McDonnell, Mary Muldoon, Alban Magennis and probably Joe Byrne who would have known him better.
And of course middle-aged people such as Patsy McGlone, Dominic Bradley and Margaret Ritchie would have known of him…by reason of their familiarity with the Troubles and general SDLP “history”.
There is no reason why young people joining SDLP should know the name “Paddy Wilson” but understandably they are focussed on the Future.
People who have read this Blog for any length of time will know that I think one of the reasons the SDLP can be cheerful is the star quality of its Youth. Some of them are really really good and they will come to the fore in a few years.
The SDLP has a lot to learn from its young people.
But…the Youth Wing has a lot to learn from the senior Party…such as SDLP History.
So a suggestion.
Why not an INDUCTION COURSE for new members.
Why not a fringe meeting at the next SDLP Conference where some senior figures talk about the Early Days.
Or why not a small exhibit of SDLP memorabalia in a Conference Room.

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