Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein MLA Willie Clarke resigning his seat

Willie Clarke (Pacemaker Pics)
Image caption Willie Clarke is standing down as an MLA

Sinn Fein South Down MLA Willie Clarke has announced he is to give up his Northern Ireland Assembly seat.

Mr Clarke said he was doing so in order to concentrate on his work as a Down District councillor.

He was first elected to the assembly in 2003.

"It has been an honour to represent the people of South Down in the assembly and I would like to thank everyone who has assisted me in that endeavour," he said.

"Sinn Fein has a policy of eradicating double jobbing in terms of public representation and in view of this policy I have opted to give up my assembly seat in order to concentrate on the local council.

"This was a very difficult decision to make and in conjunction with my family I have decided that continuing my work through the local council is the best option for myself."