The Social Democrats’ second National Conference – to be held in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin this weekend – marks a year of significant growth and progress for the party.

The event will see members and supporters from around the country gather on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th January to discuss the party’s policies and priorities in areas including health, housing, Garda reform and repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Speaking ahead of the event in the Royal Marine Hotel, the party’s chairperson, Sarah Jane Hennelly said:

”Our conference will demonstrate just how far the Social Democrats have come in terms of our development and growth since we adopted our governing constitution at our inaugural conference.

“The past year has been one of significant progress for the party on many fronts. We are now organised in 30 out of the country’s 39 constituencies. Just twelve months ago, we had no local area representatives and only three councillors. Today we have attracted 25 strong and committed local area representatives and we have doubled the number of our councillors, from three to six.

“We are building towards having an incredibly strong slate of candidates ready and eager to contest the majority of seats in the next General Election, whenever that may be.”

Ms Hennelly, who is herself the party’s candidate for Limerick City, added: “For a party with two TDs, we have left an indelible and positive mark on issues that affect the country and all people. At Dáil level, our efforts led to the setting up of the first cross-party committee on healthcare, chaired by our co-leader Róisín Shortall TD, which produced the transformative Sláintecare plan to build a world class health service for all.

“This year our co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has also played a pivotal role as a member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment whose work has paved the way for a long-overdue referendum this year. And only this week, our Bill to strengthen renters’ rights has attracted the support of the main opposition parties.”

The conference will see fresh elections to the positions of party Chair and Vice-Chair as well as its ten-member National Executive.

Ms Hennelly will be standing down as party chair, a position she has held since last March.

She added: “It’s been an honour to lead the membership of a party I believe will play a huge role in the future of Irish politics. There are some outstanding people running for the party Chair position this weekend, so I can now confidently re-focus my work on my community of Limerick City. With the support of the Social Democrats, I am optimistic about what I can do for the people of my constituency.”

See the conference details.

25th January 2018

ENDS