Barry Turley has been appointed communications director of Northern
Ireland’s moderate nationalist party, the Social Democratic and Labour
Turley joined the party from Irish television channel RTE, where he was
a general news reporter for the last two-and-a-half years. Before RTE,
Turley freelanced for the BBC in Belfast as a political reporter for
He replaces Conall McDevitt, who left in January to become customer
marketing communications manager at Ireland’s largest plc, Viridian.
Turley joined the SDLP in time to handle communications during the push
for a Good Friday settlement on the arms decommissioning issue.
He reports to the party’s general secretary Jerry Cosgrove. Eilish
Haughey, who has been acting in his role since McDevitt’s departure, is
the party’s only full-time press officer. She will now report to Turley
and will continue to handle communications for the party’s Northern
Ireland Assembly members.
The party intends to recruit a further press officer to handle media
relations for its local councillors.
The SDLP holds 24 seats in the assembly, having fielded 38 candidates in
the elections in June last year. SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon is
deputy first minister of the assembly, while Ulster Unionist Party
leader David Trimble is first minister.