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Bairbre deBrún to resign Assembly seat - concentrate efforts on Europe

8 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader Conor Murphy today confirmed that West Belfast Assembly member and recently elected MEP Bairbre de Brún has submitted her resignation letter to the Assembly authorities. Ms de Brún decided to resign her Assembly seat in order to concentrate on her work as an MEP.

Speaking today Mr Murphy said:

"As a result of Bairbre's election to the European Parliament in June she has decided to resign her Assembly 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.

"Bairbre has now submitted her letter of resignation to the Assembly authorities and indicated that she wishes to be replaced as a West Belfast MLA by former Chief Whip Cllr. Sue Ramsey.

"As leader of the Assembly Group for the past number of years it has been a privilege working alongside Bairbre, particularly during the time she spent as the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

"Given her vast experience within the party and her time as a negotiator, MLA and a Minister I am quite sure that Bairbre will continue to deliver as a representative for the six counties and part of a Sinn Féin team in Europe working closely with her colleagues in Leinster House, the Assembly and local government."

Speaking this afternoon on her decision to resign her Assembly seat in order to concentrate on her role as an MEP Ms de Brún said:

"It has been an honour to represent the people of West Belfast in the Assembly and I will continue to work hard for this constituency in my new role. However, given the amount of time which is required to effectively represent people across the six counties 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. However 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.

"Direct Rule is 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 power sharing, the equality agenda and the all-Ireland institutions worked well.

"I now look forward to new challenges as part of a dynamic Sinn Féin team in Europe and I am certain that Sue Ramsey will prove an effective and efficient replacement as an MLA for West Belfast." ENDS

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