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Disgraced councillor Patrick Clarke quits after string of convictions

By Luke Barnes

Published 14/10/2016

Resigned: Patrick Clarke
Resigned: Patrick Clarke

A councillor has resigned after admitting breaching the local government code of conduct.

Disgraced Patrick Clarke, who represents Slieve Croob for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said he was suffering from depression and "alcohol issues".

He accepted it was time to address his problems and apologised to his friends, family and the electorate.

Last month Clarke, from Castlewellan, became the first councillor in Northern Ireland to appear before the Local Government Commissioner for Standards.

In the last three years Clarke has had a series of criminal convictions.

In September 2014 he was arrested for defrauding the Dundrum Village Association of £750.

Two days before Christmas that year the councillor was charged with drunkenly sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel.

In June 2015 he also admitted swindling almost £2,000 from Drumaroad Community Regeneration Scheme - which had been set up to help rebuild a local church hall - when he was chairman.

Then in September 2015 Clarke forced his way into a neighbour's home with a hammer, smashing a ceramic cup before being arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Clarke was an independent councillor having previously been a member of the Alliance Party. He declined to comment on his ongoing troubles.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Local Government Ethical Standards confirmed that Clarke's adjudication hearing would continue next Thursday as planned.

Belfast Telegraph

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