“Hand of history should be feeling somebody’s collar” 

8 07 2016


SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said it is clear that the invasion of Iraq was based on ‘a false premise and a false promise’ – and that the Chilcot report shows there was duplicity in the government’s overall presentation on this to the public and Parliament.

Strongly criticising Tony Blair’s decision to go to war, Mr Durkan also echoed the former PM’s remark ahead of signing the Good Friday Agreement by saying that “the hand of history should be feeling someone’s collar!” 

Addressing Prime Minister David Cameron during yesterday’s House of Commons debate on the Iraq inquiry, Mr Durkan said: “Those of us who come to the report scandalised anew by the duplicity of presentation and the paucity of preparation on such grave matters must nevertheless remember most those who are acutely burdened today by their cruel sense of futility of sacrifice in terms of lives lost, lives devastated and lives changed.

“The Prime Minister has rightly emphasised that lessons need to be learnt, but we must be careful not to turn the report into a greywash by converting it into a syllabus about foresight in government and oversight in Parliament.

“This is not a day for soundbites, but does the Prime Minister not agree that the hand of history should be feeling someone’s collar?”

David Cameron replied that he thought “there’s a huge amount to learn and I think everyone who has played a part in it has to take their responsibility for it”.

Durkan welcomes £300m for dementia research

8 03 2015

Alzheimer'sResearch_Mark Durkan

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement at the weekend that more than £300m is to be spent by the government on research into dementia.

Mr Durkan, who has campaigned both at home and in Westminster in support of the 15,000 people in Northern Ireland affected by dementia, said:

 “I welcome David Cameron’s commitment to provide significant funding in the fight to defeat dementia.

 “I am also pleased to see the launch of a separate multi-million pound fund to help establish an international investment scheme to discover new drugs and treatments that could slow the onset of dementia, or even deliver a cure, by 2025.

 “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia – and therefore this is a health issue that we can no longer afford to ignore.

 “As well as backing Alzheimer Research UK’s global call for action to defeat dementia, I supported last year’s ‘Memory Walk’ in Derry in aid of the Alzheimer Society’s ‘Fighting Dementia Together’ campaign.

 “I have also supported the Alzheimer Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ campaign which aims to help people with the condition play a fuller role in their communities.

 “Importantly, we need to see additional support for people with dementia and improved diagnosis rates not only here in Derry but throughout the North.”

Hain’s Bloody Sunday comments ‘inevitable and predictable’ – Durkan

2 03 2014

 Reacting to the comments of former Secretary of State Peter Hain who has called  for an amnesty for British soldiers involved
in the Bloody Sunday killings , Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan  has described the comments as an “inevitable and predictable” consequence of Sinn Fein’s selfish misdealings.


 Mr Durkan said: “It is no surprise that Peter Hain has now articulated this view. That was clearly his position. Sinn Fein, who have been quoting him in aid this week, know that this was Peter Hain’s view when they were collaborating together to push forward the NI (Offences) Bill in 2005 (which was misnomered as the On The Runs bill).

 “In the context of the Hain-Adams Bill, which Peter Hain was forced to withdraw after Sinn Fein had been forced to withdraw their support, Peter Hain used words like illogical, indefensible and unconscionable to justify indemnity for members of the security forces as a corollary for any such assurance to republicans.

“We also know from the time of the Hain/Adams Bill that when Sinn Fein had to eventually admit that its scope did include the Bloody Sunday paratroopers, Martin McGuinness dismissed that as an issue when, interviewed on Hearts and Minds, he said that he did “not envisage that any people who were involved in the murders of nationalists … is ever going to be brought before a court in this day and age.”

 “Those who have stood over the scheme revealed in the High Court case have claimed that it doesn’t imply an amnesty, and that everybody really knew everything about it.

 “Yet now, one of its authors is saying that the fact of the scheme should mean amnesty for everybody and anybody in relation to anything. We will also have others, including Tories and unionists rallying around such a demand.  

 “Sinn Fein know if others had really known about the ‘Shinners’ List’ and letters having such import on a court case those others would have then been demanding indemnity for the security forces too. That presumably was one of the reasons for key aspects of the scheme being hidden.

 “I know that many families may be anxious and aggrieved by the inevitable and predictable line that has now come from Peter Hain, and will be pushed by others, but this is a consequence of Sinn Fein’s selfish misdealing, which we will have to work hard to resist – firstly by reminding people both the Eames-Bradley report and the Haass drafts ruled out amnesty as a basis for dealing with the Past.”

 Please see the attached document ‘12 Things They Didn’t Want You To Know About The NI Offences Bill’ which references the ‘Hearts and Minds’ interview:


Durkan calls for action on excessive default fees

14 02 2014


SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has called on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take urgent action in response to the growing problem of excessive default fees charged by payday loan companies and other lenders.

Mr Durkan, who sits on the Consumer Rights Bill committee at Westminster, said: “I have been supporting the different efforts by politicians and consumer rights groups (including the Charter to Stop the Payday Loan Rip-off and the Which? Clean Up Credit campaign), as well as putting pressure on the government to address the issue of  disproportionately high fees being charged by payday loan companies and other lenders if borrowers default on loans.

“Importantly, recent research published by the Competition Commission has found that more than a third of payday loan customers repay their debt late and incur default fees.

“I am therefore calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take urgent action to clamp down on excessive charges and irresponsible lending, and to make sure that borrowers are being treated fairly whatever form of credit they are using.”