Sinn Féin’s Member of the European Parliament for the Six Counties, Bairbre de Brun, has resigned as a member of the suspended Belfast Assembly.
The party’s Assembly group leader Conor Murphy said that as a result of Ms de Brun’s election to the European Parliament in June she had decided to resign her Stormont seat.
“It would be very difficult for any individual to deliver effectively for constituents across the six counties in Europe and simultaneously maintain the sort of local constituency service which Sinn Féin require from our MLAs,” he said.
Her West Belfast seat will now be taken up by Sinn Féin councillor Sue Ramsey.
Mr Murphy paid tribute to the work Ms de Brun had carried out as minister for health, social services and public safety in the assembly executive.
Ms de Brun said it had been an honour to represent the people of West Belfast in the assembly.
“I will continue to work hard for this constituency in my new role,” she said.
“However, given the amount of time which is required to effectively represent people in the European Parliament I now feel that the only realistic option is to concentrate my time fully on that task.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in the assembly.
“There have been many high points during my time in the assembly and of course in the executive and all-Ireland ministerial council.
“An obvious regret is that the opportunity to bed down the political process through the institutions was squandered by the British government at the behest of the leadership of political unionism.”
Ms de Brun said that direct rule was “bad for the Six Counties”.
“Time and again since the suspension of the political institutions this has become obvious. When allowed to work at all, powersharing, the equality agenda and the all-Ireland institutions worked well,” she said.