Dr Alasdair McDonnell is the current leader of the SDLP. He was born in September 1949 in Cushendall, County Antrim. McDonnell was educated at St. McNissi's College, Garron Tower and went on to study medicine at University College, Dublin. He became a family doctor at the Inner City Group Practice at Ormeau Health Centre in 1979.
Alasdair was a member of Belfast City Council between 1977 and 2001, and was deputy Mayor between 1995/96. He has been a member of the N.I Assembly since 1998. In May 2005 McDonnell was elected MP for Belfast South, a seat he retained in the 2010 Westminster elections.
Alasdair is a former deputy leader of the SDLP and was a candidate for the leadership of the party, eventually losing out to Margaret Ritchie MLA in a close contest after a vote at the party’s annual conference in February 2010. However in 2011 Alasdair ran again for the leadership of the party and was successfully elected as the SDLP leader at the party conference in November 2011.