Sex assault Alliance man is banned as a councillor
A former Alliance Party councillor has been barred from local government after being convicted of sexual offences, criminal damage and fraud.
The Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards disqualified Patrick Clarke for a period of three years, saying that he was "unfit for public office."
Mr Clarke had previously accepted that he had failed to comply with the standards expected of him in the role.
The Castlewellan councillor had been convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel in Newcastle, Co Down. He was also convicted of defrauding two community groups and of forcing his way into a neighbour's house armed with a hammer.
Ian Gordon OBE, the acting Commissioner for Standards, said Mr Clarke's conduct "undermines the critical trust between the public and the people they elect". He added: "This relationship of trust is essential if public confidence in local government and the democratic process is to be maintained".
There will not be a by-election to fill Mr Clarke's place on the local council. Newry, Mourne and Down Council said it would ask the Alliance party to put forward a person to fill the seat.