Four Sinn Fein Councillors bow out of local politics

Four of Limavady’s Sinn Fein councillors will not be seeking re-election in May at the council elections, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

Councillors John Felix McElhinney, Paddy Butcher and Marion Donaghy are bowing out of local politics while it is understood Colr. O’hOisin is seeking nomination for the Assembly elections.

Magilligan Colr. Butcher said he had initially signed up for a four-year term, but it had gone into six years.

“It is very difficult to juggle daily council meetings, constituency work, the day job that pays the mortgage and family life. As a man I’m not great at multi-tasking,” said the project manager. “There will be plenty of work for me to do within the party structure and I will be totally committed to work on the ground locally to support my successor and leave him or her to attend all those meetings.”

Feeny Colr. Marion Donaghy said the public role required a heavy commitment.

“It is not something you can do with a full-time job. It’s physically impossible. It really is a full-time job.”

Greysteel councillor John Felix McElhinney said his successor had his full support and thanked all his supporters, family and Council and party staff. He said he hoped he had made a difference in his community and said it was time for fresh enthusiasm in the area.

East Derry Sinn Féin Chairperson Sean McGlinchey said the four councillors had served their community with distinction.

“While three are leaving public life the other one is going forward to seek election to the Assembly in the forthcoming election,” he said.

“Councillors Marion Donaghy, Paddy Butcher and John McElhinney are retiring from public life but I look forward to continuing our working relationship with them as party members. They will be a great asset for any new councillors taking on their roles as they have a long and valuable experience in serving the people of East Derry.”

Mr. McGlinchey added: “As Chairperson of the local area I would like to extend my personal thanks as well as the thanks of the party for their service. Each and every one of them was a credit to the party and I wish them well for the future. They have been committed Republicans for many years and will continue to be key to the party structures in this area as we move ahead.

“I would also like to thank Cathal for his service on the Council and wish him well in the forthcoming Assembly election. Cathal was an outstanding candidate in the recent Westminster election and we are confident that he will be elected to the Assembly. If Cathal is elected I am sure that he will represent the people of East Derry with the same fervour and commitment he has shown in the council.”