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East Londonderry MLA David McClarty dies

Independent unionist MLA David McClarty has died after an illness.

Mr McClarty (63), from Coleraine, had been battling cancer for some time.

The East Londonerry MLA eft the Ulster Unionist Party in 2011 after he was de-selected as a candidate for that year's assembly election.

He was first elected to Coleraine Council in 1989 and the assembly in 1998.

Mc McClarty also served as one of the assembly#s deputy speakers from 2007 to 2011.

Ulster Unionist Party chairman Lord Empey ttold the BBC  Mr McClarty was "a real gentleman in politics".

"He was always willing to put his views forward in a fearless manner, but did so in a way that did not add hurt or injury to many inflamed situations," he said.

SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat said: "This is deeply sad news, for Coleraine, the north coast and Northern Ireland. David was a warm, kind and welcoming man who was incredibly popular across our entire constituency and across the political divide.

"David leaves behind a legacy of good will and a shining example of how communities can work and live together. His ability to work with every political party and every shade of political opinion made him a beacon of hope for a future that’s inclusive of everyone."

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