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Sinn Fein adviser Naomi Bailie seriously ill with meningitis

By David Young

A high-profile Sinn Fein councillor and adviser to Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard is seriously ill in hospital with meningitis, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

Naomi Bailie, who served as inaugural chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, went into hospital earlier this week after being diagnosed with the disease.

Fellow Sinn Fein councillor Willie Clarke confirmed last night that Ms Bailie had been admitted on Wednesday.

Mr Clarke said the local community had been shocked to learn of the Downpatrick councillor's illness.

"It's a very worrying time for everyone - her friends, colleagues and family circle," he said.

"There's been a huge outpouring of support and concern for her on social media.

"We're all very shocked and concerned for Naomi, and are hoping she will make a full and speedy recovery."

Ms Bailie, who comes from Ballygalget, recently gave birth to a son, Niadh.

Speaking on behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, chair Gillian Fitzpatrick sent a message of support to councillor Bailie and her family.

"We are very sorry to hear about this terrible news of councillor Naomi Bailie's sudden illness," Ms Fitzpatrick said.

"The thoughts of all at the council are with Naomi, her family and friends.

"We sincerely hope she makes a full and speedy recovery."

Ms Bailie (30) graduated from the University of Ulster in politics and government studies, and holds an MA in Irish politics from Queen's University.

A former pupil of St Mary's High School, she is also a member of the Sinn Fein enterprise and investment steering group, and is a regional child protection officer for the party.

According to health charity Meningitis Now, many people still wrongly think that the disease only affects babies and young children.

However, meningitis can strike anyone regardless of health, gender or age.

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