Newcastle left without Stormont representative as Willie Clarke resigns
Newcastle is to lose its only locally-based MLA with the news that Sinn Féin representative Willie Clarke is to resign his Assembly seat “to concentrate on Down District Council”.
The news has surprised many politics watchers, who assumed that Clarke would resign his Council seat in preference for his Assembly role. He had announced before the double-election in May 2011 that he would only continue with one of the jobs, despite standing for both posts.
As he told newcastlerocks back in April (at 4mins 30sec below), he had not decided which of the jobs to retain if he should be successful in both polls.
The party will now decide which of its members to move into Clarke’s vacant Assembly seat. Speculation has concentrated on unsuccessful Assembly candidate Naomi Bailie and Ballynahinch councillor Mickey Coogan. Either choice would leave Newcastle without a Stormont representative living in the town, although John McCallister MLA has a constituency office on Causeway Road.