Dallat in running for Slugger O'Toole award

POLITICIANS, journalists and community organisations are going head-to-head to collect a gong at this year's Slugger O'Toole Political Awards - and SDLP East Derry MLA

John Dallat is in with a fighting chance. Final nominees for each category in the political blog awards ceremony were announced on Thursday.

The awards ceremony will take place in the Black Box in Belfast

on 10th February. Categories include Political Journalist of the

Year, Campaign of the Year and Politician of the Year. John Dallat is nominated in the Constructive Opposition category for his work with the Public Accounts Committee in Stormont.

He and his colleagues on the committee (Patsy McGlone and Dawn Purvis) are nominated for their work on the Northern Ireland Water issues.

Mick Fealty, who runs the political discussion website Slugger O'Toole, explained:

"It's been a tricky year for those in public office in Northern Ireland with the recession, corporate governance issues and personal

problems, but we hope that the Slugger Awards can acknowledge those who are doing good work in politics, the media and society.

It's all too easy to complain, and I'm sure we all do it, but sometimes it is important too to give the nod to those who are making a difference."

The Awards are being held in association with public affairs company Stratagem and are sponsored by Channel 4.

John Dallat said: "It is a great honour to be nominated. Slugger O'Toole played a vital role in getting information out into the public arena.

In the intervening period since that PAC inquiry on 1st July the Permanent Secretary of DRD has been suspended, the Chief Executive of NIW has resigned and two inquiries are ongoing.

"At the end of the day democracy has been reasserted and the establishment has taken a hammering for the way they took people for granted, sacked the innocent and brought morale in NIW to its lowest level in living memory.

"I don't believe any government department will ever again be so arrogant and government-sponsored bodies such as Northern Ireland Water will attempt to act in isolation with no regard for the public's money they spend