SDLP Selects O'Toole As South Belfast MLA

A former Downing Street advisor has been selected as the SDLP MLA for south Belfast.

Matthew O'Toole replaces Claire Hanna following her election to the House of Commons in December.

He has a background in economic policy and communications having worked in roles in the private sector and in government, including in both the UK Treasury and 10 Downing Street.

Northern Ireland's newest assembly member said he was delighted to accept the role in this "critical moment".

"I'm humbled to be asked to serve a constituency that is Northern Ireland's most diverse and open," he commented.

"The absence of power sharing has put immense pressure on public services, especially the health service, which is felt acutely in places like South Belfast.
News Image
"Brexit has also made Northern Ireland immensely vulnerable and been damaging to community relations. The election to Westminster of progressive, remain voices like Colum and Claire is good news, and I want to do my part in defending Northern Ireland from the effects of Brexit."

Party Leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood welcomed Mr O'Toole to the party, while Ms Hanna said he will make an outstanding MLA.

Mr Eastwood said: "With a strong background in economic policy, having worked across government and the private sector, Matthew brings an immense amount of experience that will be critical to our efforts to rebalance Northern Ireland's economy, attract new jobs and defend people here from the impact of Brexit.

"I look forward to working with him at a critical time for politics in the North."

Former south Belfast MLA Ms Hanna said Mr O'Toole's experience will be an "immense asset" to attracting new jobs and industries to the city.

"I'm looking forward to working closely with Matthew to deliver for South Belfast and I know that he will do everything in his power to help people in our community," she said.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2005
The 2005 Birthday Honours List for Northern Ireland
The full list of recipients of honours in the 2005 Birthday Honours list for Northern Ireland is as follows: Knighthood: Mr Hugh Orde OBE, Chief Constable, Police Service of Northern Ireland - for services to Northern Ireland. CBE: Mr Robert David Stewart Campbell, Belfast - For Political and public service.
21 April 2010
SF's Maskey Withdrawn From Election Race
The news that Sinn Fein has withdrawn its South Belfast candidate Alex Maskey (pictured) from the General Election has been condemned as a political "stunt".
30 June 2009
South Belfast MLA Anna Lo Threatened
A Hong Kong-born Assemblywomen has said she will not be deterred by racist threats against her life. South Belfast MLA Anna Lo (pictured) was told by police at the weekend that she is now a potential target for racist elements in the city.
21 May 2003
PSNI launch 'House Safe' campaign
The PSNI in South Belfast have launched the first phase of ‘House Safe’, a campaign developed in response to the increasing problem of domestic burglaries in South Belfast. Police said that the campaign, an initiative by South Belfast District Command Unit, is aimed at the habitual offender, working to disrupt and frustrate their behaviour.
05 February 2003
Man dies in south Belfast road accident
Northern Ireland's roads have claimed another life today after a man died following a serious road accident in south Belfast. The accident happened at around 2pm on the Lisburn Road involving a pedestrian and a car. The man's death brings to 19 the total number of people who have died on Northern Ireland's roads since the turn of the year.