Leonard suspended six weeks ago

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East Derry Sinn Fein MLA Billy Leonard was suspended from the party roughly six weeks ago, the ‘Journal’ has been told.

East Derry Sinn Fein chairperson, Sean McGlinchey, revealed the news yesterday.

Mr. McGlinchey said the reason behind the suspension was an internal matter and that discussions were ongoing. He said the matter was being dealt with internally and sensitively.

“Mr. Leonard has been co-operating fully with the party and I am confident the matter can be resolved with a satisfactory outcome for both parties. I have no doubt about that.”

Mr. McGlinchey said the former Orangmen and RUC reservist was continuing with constituency work. In November, Mr Leonard announced that he would not be running again for the Assembly and that he intended to write a book. Mr. Leonard, a former SDLP member, became MLA for East Derry last year after the retirement of veteran Sinn Fein politician Francie Brolly.

Mr. Leonard did not return calls from the ‘Journal’ for comment.