by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The former leader of the SDLP, Dr Alasdair McDonnell, and former Ulster Unionist MP, Danny Kinahan, have come together to form a new public affairs company. A third member of the Upton PA team is public affairs specialist and former Special Adviser and journalist, Ray Hayden.


Upton PA will operate in Belfast, London and Dublin, offering a range of specialist services to business and industry.

They will advise clients on parliamentary business, devise and develop political strategies, engage with politicians across the board and work to ensure that the Private Sector voice is embedded in decision-making at the highest levels.

Dr McDonnell and Danny Kinahan said that coming from both nationalist and unionist backgrounds means they are capable of offering informed, accurate and reliable insights and perspectives.

Dr McDonnell said: “Danny and I have worked together on many projects when we were in Westminster, so when the opportunity arose to develop something unique in the public affairs space, we both saw the potential and went for it.”

Mr Kinahan said: “In the past, we have worked for the greater good, all based on the bedrock of mutual trust and respect. We each have our own political views, but that’s the immense attraction with Upton PA where we can bring our respective strengths to bear for clients who need to get a strong message across to Ministers and senior civil servants.”

Both former MPs said the addition of Ray Hayden brought strong public relations and public affairs know-how to Upton PA.

They said: “Ray Hayden is one of the finest practitioners not only in Northern Ireland but in the entire country. His reputation is second to none and he perfectly complements what we are able to offer.

“We’ve already signed up a number of clients, all of whom want to see the locally devolved institutions restored, but who believe that they cannot stand still with their business plans. We have been very well received by MPs, TDs, Lords and Senators in both London and Dublin and look forward to delivering a first-class service for our clients.”

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