Justin McNulty: Future of SDLP MLA in doubt after GAA appointment

Justin McNulty during his previous stint in charge of Laois
Justin McNulty says he is determined to continue serving as an MLA

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has cast doubt on the future of one of its MLAs after he accepted the role of manager of an inter-county GAA team.

Justin McNulty was appointed to the job with Laois last month.

But he has remained as MLA for Newry and Armagh despite allegations the party was trying to force him out.

This afternoon the party said it had met with him to congratulated him on his appointment.

It also said the impact on his position as a member of the assembly had been discussed.

A spokesperson for the party said: "The SDLP has been clear that the role of an MLA is obviously a full-time position - and even more so when the assembly is sitting, legislation is being considered and politicians will be required to be available for late-night sittings to deal with the multiple crises facing public services.

"This is the unanimous view of the SDLP Parliamentary Group."

'Determined to continue'

Mr McNulty said he was "humbled and thankful to have been appointed to serve, to stand up for and to represent all the people of Newry and Armagh".

"I have done that from day one and I am determined to continue doing so," he told BBC News NI.

"I remain steadfast in that position."

The SDLP stopped short of saying Mr McNulty should resign from Stormont.

It is the second time the former All Ireland winner has been appointed as Laois football manager.

During his previous stint in charge between 2011 and 2013, McNulty guided Laois to promotion to Division One and an All-Ireland quarter-finals spot.