NEWS: SDLP puts McDevitt in charge of PR strategy

The Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP), Northern Ireland’s main nationalist party, has appointed Conall McDevitt as its first director of communications.

The Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP), Northern Ireland’s main

nationalist party, has appointed Conall McDevitt as its first director

of communications.



Starting next week with a support staff of one, McDevitt will take

charge of the party’s press relations and advise on its overall

communications strategy. Based in Belfast, he will be initially hired on

a three-year contract.



McDevitt is the first person fill a public relations role at the SDLP

for two-and-a-half years. An earlier press officer post was scrapped

following a restructuring within the party. Media relations was

subsequently handled by the office of SDLP leader John Hume.



For the last six months McDevitt has been a technical writer for

Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises (NI-CO). Set up by the

Department for Economic Development, the company provides business

development assistance for public services in Britain and abroad. Prior

to that, he worked as a political adviser to Bernie Malone, MEP for

Dublin.



McDevitt said that a major part of his job would be to explain and

promote the SDLP’s part in the Northern Ireland peace process, and in

particular the role played by John Hume. He added that he would also

seek to publicise party policy on issues such as health, education and

inward investment in the run up to the general election.



‘The SDLP is a party with a very broad policy base and there is a

critical need to be proactive in communicating bread and butter issues,’

he said.



The SDLP has four MPs sitting in Westminster and around 3,000 card

carrying members in Northern Ireland.



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