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DUP MLA Ross announces decision to quit politics

DUP East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross has announced he will not seek re-election.

Mr Ross, a junior minister in the Executive Office said: "It has been an enormous privilege to represent the people of East Antrim at the Northern Ireland Assembly for the past 10 years, but I had taken a decision when elected in May 2016 that it would be my final election.

"The past 10 years has had its challenges, but there is no doubt that devolution is important for Northern Ireland and that having local representatives taking decisions is immeasurably better than direct rule.

"It is therefore deeply frustrating that Sinn Fein has decided to collapse the institutions and force an early election exactly at a time when we should be focusing on issues such as RHI, hospital waiting lists, leaving the European Union, getting a sustainable budget in place and growing the economy.

"For a decade now the DUP has led the Executive and over that time we have seen record levels of investment, growth in our tourism sector and major events coming to Northern Ireland.

"We have also frustrated efforts of republicans to deliver their own narrow agenda and in the process seen support for the Union at its highest level since the formation of the state.

"During that time I am particularly proud of my work in regard to criminal justice reform, playing my part in bringing the Giro d’Italia to Northern Ireland and my stand against dangerous presumed consent legislation."

Also not seeking election in the forthcoming poll are Sinn Fein's Catriona Ruane and Cathering Seeley the UUP's Ross Hussey and DUP MLA Sammy Douglas.

Mr Ross added: "As I prepare to step down from public office I also want to pay tribute to my friend and party leader Arlene Foster. Arlene has been subjected to the most unfair and relentless campaign against her in recent months, but over my time at Stormont I can genuinely say that I have not seen anyone devote more time, energy or commitment to improving the lives of people in Northern Ireland than Arlene Foster.

"This election is about who people want to lead this country and I intend on continuing to do what I can to ensure that unionism continues to be led by a strong DUP team.”

Members of the Titanic Cycling Club prepared for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Members of the Titanic Cycling Club prepared for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Telegraph man Colin O'Carroll at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gran Fondo winners celebrate. Pic: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Lakeside Wheelers from Mullingar. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Brian Flynn from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Sarah, Adele and Matthew Davidson from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Duncan Campbell of the Titanic Cycling Club. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick Murphy from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo winners on the podium. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Misia Rookigues and Gerard Magill. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Stuart Millar from Newtownards and Lydia Murphy from Saintfield. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Hand and hand in the rain across the line. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Rev John Dickinson from Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Ryan Kane (6). Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Three generations of the Kane Cycles family celebrate Marke Kanes win at the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon. Winner Mark Kane on right with his father Dave nephew Ryan and brother Paul ,(left) who finished second behind his brother.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane explains how he was injured with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collision with a police motorbike escort near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collission with a police escort motor cycle near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Mark Kane wins the Mournes Run of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan Stephen Roche at the start line. The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Paul Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the race leader of the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
First three finishers in the Strangford Route Keith Murphy (2nd), Chris McKeown (Winner) and Paul Mikugis (3rd). Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Chris McKeown winner of the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keith Murphy, who suffers from leukaemia, finished second in the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gordon McKay at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Alex McGreevy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Cathir Doyle (13) from Magherafelt, winner of the NI Tourist Board race in the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Belfast Telegraph's Riona O'Kane and Lee Taylor at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Trudy Brown from Belfast saddles up for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Teresa Ramdi from Italy and Isabella Romoli from Dublin with the Giro DItalia trophy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Charlie Stewart (5) from Ballynure at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
East Belfast MLA Sammy Douglas at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Taveling in tamdem at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
At the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Read for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Thumbs up for the Mourne Route start at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea take a breather after the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mary McCreesh and Grainne King from Co Fermannagh with their medals from the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Ryan Kane (6) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) who worked as a welder at Harland and Wolff at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Hand and hand in the rain across the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) and his brother Milton McKeag (88) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Riders taking a corner during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Omagh Wheelers at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keeping in touch during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gale Sergeant and Boris from Newtownabbey enjoying the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Starting off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Off the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gearing up for the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Richie Port and Stephen Roche at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Stephen Roche moves to the start beside Richie Port at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Whiterock Wheelers checking the brakes ahead of the off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Miaread McGurk and Samantha Convery of Carn Cycle Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
David Maguire came all the way from Sydney, Australia for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Denise Todd from Banbridge at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Members of the Dave Kane Cycle Club ahead of the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Checking the figures at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Orla Wright, Elaine O'Boyle and Rosemary O'Kane fro the Glenns Cycling Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia gets underway at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia begins at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.

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