SDLP reshuffle of frontbench roles

18 October 2021 - by Matthew Jackson

With Assembly elections ‘on or before 5 May 2022’, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has reshuffled his party’s frontbench team in the Assembly. Eastwood has also created a number of new roles to reflect what he says are “urgent political priorities.”

The Party’s Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon MLA remains at the helm of the Department for Infrastructure.

Sinead McLaughlin MLA – who replaced Eastwood in the Assembly after his he won his Westminster seat in 2019 – moves from the role of Deputy Chair of the Economy Committee to Chair of the Executive Office Committee. McLaughlin replaces Party Chair Colin McGrath MLA who will now sit on the Health Committee. Her role as TEO Committee Chair will be complimented by a new spokserson's role on COVID-19 recovery. 

South Belfast MLA Matthew O’Toole retains his position on the Finance Committee while also taking up the position of Deputy Chair of the Economy Committee.

Cara Hunter MLA moves from the Health Committee to the Infrastructure Committee, while she will also take up a new role as the party’s Climate Champion. Hunter will also take on the spokesperson duties for a new portfolio focused on new generations.

The full changes are as follows:



Assembly Committee

Nichola Mallon MLA (North Belfast)

Infrastructure Minister

SDLP Deputy Leader


Sinead Mc Laughlin MLA (Foyle)

COVID Recovery

Executive Office Committee (Chair)

Matthew O’Toole MLA (South Belfast)

Economy and Brexit

Economy Committee (Vice Chair)

Finance Committee

Dolores Kelly MLA (Upper Bann)


Policing board

Audit Committee (Chair)

Colin McGrath MLA (South Down)


SDLP Chairman

Health Committee

Cara Hunter MLA (East Londonderry)

Climate Champion

New Generations

Infrastructure Committee

Mark H Durkan MLA (Foyle)

Communities and Culture

Communities Committee

Pat Catney MLA (Lagan Valley)

Hospitality and High Street Renewal

Finance Committee

Daniel McCrossan MLA (West Tyrone)


Education Committee

Justin McNulty MLA (Newry and Armagh)

Young people and Sport

Education Committee

Patsy McGlone MLA (Mid Ulster)

Agriculture and Language

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

Sinead Bradley MLA (South Down)


Justice Committee