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(Derry Journal)

A bitter row appears to have developed in East Derry for the SDLP after outgoing MLA Gerry Mullan was not selected to run for the party in the upcoming election.

At the weekend, former MLA John Dallat – who retired last year – was selected as the party’s only candidate in East Derry.

I feel badly let down by the party

Outgoing SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan

Mr. Dallat was one of three people who had put themselves forward, the others were outgoing MLA Gerry Mullan and Causeway Coast & Glens councillor Roisin Loftus.

Mr. Mullan told the ‘Journal’ he is “bitterly disappointed” at the development.

“I feel badly let down by the party,” he said.

Mr Mullan added: “I am seeking legal advice and will be making no further comment.”

The ‘Journal’ asked Mr. Dallat, who retired last year with a package understood to be in the region of £48,000, if the development was a sign of difficulties within the SDLP in East Derry.

“If there are difficulties, I’m not aware of them,” said Mr. Dallat.

In endorsing Gerry Mullan’s nomination last year, John Dallat said he was “delighted that Gerry has been endorsed by the party centrally.”

In a statement, Mr. Dallat said: “I want to see all the electorate represented by someone who is committed to the welfare of people and has, as a priority, the creation of jobs and security for this and future generations. Gerry is that person and he has goodwill of all the elected and party faithful in this constituency.”

The former deputy Stormont Speaker said his decision to come out of retirement was not taken lightly. When the veteran politician was asked if he would return his retirement package if he is re-elected, Mr. Dallat said he’d asked the party’s General Secretary to look at the issue, stating “absolutely, if there are ways and means”.

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