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Anne Brolly says she left Sinn Fein over party's stance on abortion

Anne and Francie Brolly from Dungiven. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

A high-profile member of Sinn Féin in Co Derry has revealed she left the party over its stance on abortion.

Former Limavady mayor Anne Brolly is a leading figure in a new pressure group formed by republicans to oppose abortion on both sides of the border.

Cherish All The Children Equally had its first meeting in the north at the weekend.

Mrs Brolly's husband Francie, a former assembly member, said he also contemplated walking away from Sinn Féin but has "decided to stay in and try to change it".

Before entering politics the Brollys, from Dungiven, were well known on the music scene across Ireland. Their son Joe is also a high-profile Gaelic games pundit with RTE.

Anne Brolly served on Limavady council from 2001 to 2014 but said she has allowed her membership of Sinn Féin to lapse.

She criticised a motion passed by the party last year supporting terminations in limited cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

“I would be prepared to accept Sinn Féin on many levels and I will always support them on their ultimate aim towards a united Ireland, but this was step too far for me."

Mrs Brolly claimed other Sinn Féin members have also left in recent years because of its position on abortion.

However, Francie Brolly, a former republican internee and MLA for East Derry, said he remains a member despite similar reservations.

“I am working inside Sinn Féin to try and change that,” he said.

“So far basically the leadership have got back to me and we have agreed to differ."

A Sinn Féin spokesman said last night: "The Sinn Féin position on abortion has been debated and agreed over a long period of time at Ard Fheiseanna."

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