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SDLP suspend MLA Justin McNulty after leaving Stormont to manage Laois GAA

Justin McNulty

Justin McNulty has been suspended by his party – the SDLP – after the Newry and Armagh MLA left Stormont to manage Laois GAA on Saturday evening.

Mr McNulty’s decision to take up the post in October was criticised due to his ability to carry out both roles.

And today, on an historic moment for NI politics, those duties clashed.

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, the SDLP confirmed he had been suspended after he left Stormont without seeking permission.

An SDLP Spokesperson said: “All SDLP MLAs were informed by the party’s Chief Whip that attendance at today’s sitting was mandatory for the duration of the Assembly proceedings.

“This was a historic day that saw the restoration of devolved government, the election of the first nationalist First Minister and Leader of the Opposition. People rightly expect their elected representatives to be there for work.

“We expected all members of our team to be there to support their colleagues. Accordingly, as Mr McNulty was not in his place, did not seek the permission for his absence and breached the direct instruction of the whip, the SDLP Chief Whip has suspended the whip with immediate effect.”

Incidentally, Mr McNulty’s Laois side beat Wexford by 10 points. His side have won their first two games of the National League Division 4 campaign.

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