The first republican to serve as Lord Mayor of Belfast is to step down as a city councillor.
Alex Maskey — also an MLA — told the Assembly he would be stepping down as a councillor for Laganbank, in line with Sinn Fein’s decision to phase out dual mandates.
The Andersonstown man was the first Sinn Fein representative elected to Belfast City Council when he won a by-election in 1983. He was also the first republican mayor of Belfast in 2002.
In the Assembly yesterday, Mr Maskey thanked his family and the people of west and south Belfast for their support.
He said: “We in Sinn Fein are committed to ending dual mandates and my announcement today is indicative of that commitment.
“I will continue to work for the people of South Belfast in my role as an MLA and I look forward to working with my replacement on Belfast City Council who will be confirmed later in the week.
“This move will allow me to continue in my role as an Assembly Member for the people of South Belfast in the time ahead.
“It also underlines that we in Sinn Fein are committed to building a strong team of elected representatives within South Belfast and I am confident that this will see our vote continue to grow in south Belfast in the years ahead.”
Mr Maskey is currently the Sinn Fein spokesperson on policing and justice and a member of the Policing Board.