Ruane not putting name forward for selection
Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane has said she will not be putting her name forward for selection for the next Assembly election.
Ms Ruane said;
"It has been an honour and privilege to represent the people of South Down in the Assembly for the last 14 years.
"Over the years I have been involved in assisting the growth and development of the peace process to create a better society for all our citizens.
"During that time I have had the pleasure of serving as Education Minister, abolishing the eleven plus exam, tackling underachievement, improving educational attainment and excellence for all, investing in the Irish medium sector and delivering the largest school building programme in decades.
"I was also proud to promote equality issues in the Assembly at every opportunity; equality for the LGB&T community, for Irish language speakers and for women. As a lifelong feminist I was honoured to have been selected twice by all parties to chair the Assembly's women's caucus.
"I was also privileged to serve as Principal Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
"I have now decided not to put my name forward for selection for the next Assembly election.
"Sinn Féin has continued to grow in the South Down constituency, as it has across the island, and I have no doubt that local activists will choose a strong team to go before the electorate and they will have my full and enthusiastic support in any upcoming election, in which I will acting as an election agent.
"This will be a hugely important election and it is vital that people have the opportunity to call time on the DUP's arrogance and put respect and equality at the heart of the political institutions.
"I want to thank all of the people of South Down and the party in the area for the support and trust they have shown me over the years and I look forward to the continued growth of Sinn Féin in the area.
"I also want to thank my family; my husband Brian, children Eimear and Deirdre and my grandchild, Sé, for the love and support they have given me over the years."