John Kelly to resign from Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has paid tribute to veteran republican John Kelly who has announced that he will resign from the party and not seek re-election to the assembly.

Mr Kelly, one of Sinn Féin's most prominent members, said he was withdrawing his name as a Sinn Féin candidate in assembly elections "for personal and other reasons".

"For similar personal and other reasons I will not be continuing my membership of Sinn Féin," Mr Kelly said.

Mr Adams praised the former Mid Ulster assembly member for his "tremendous contribution to the republican struggle over many decades".

"I would like to take this opportunity to praise John and his family for their committment and dedication over that time," he said.

"I wish John and his family well in the future."

The leader of the Sinn Féin group on Magherafelt District Council, Sean Mac Giolla Cheara, said: "I would like to acknowledge the contribution which John Kelly has made particularly in local politics here in south Derry.

"I know that John will continue to play a positive role in the future within his local community."

Mr Kelly, who spent time in prison during the armed struggle, first came to prominence during a 1970 arms trial in which he was charged for his role in an attempt to secure arms for the defence of Northern nationalists.

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