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Veteran republican Janice Austin to step down as Sinn Féin councillor on Belfast City Council

Sinn Féin councillor Janice Austin, currently the party's longest serving councillor in Belfast, is to step down from city council. Picture from Facebook

VETERAN republican Janice Austin is to step down as a Sinn Féin councillor on Belfast City Council.

The 66-year-old, who represents the Black Mountain ward of west Belfast, was first elected to the council in 2005 and is currently the longest serving Sinn Féin councillor in the city.

Ms Austin has been involved with Sinn Féin for four decades and campaigned for political status for republican prisoners during the 1981 hunger strikes.

"While I look forward to enjoying my retirement and enjoying more time with my family, I will continue to actively pursue our republican goals," Ms Austin told The Andersonstown News.

Ms Austin is to be replaced by Órla Nic Biorna, a 19-year-old student at St Mary's University College, in a decision which was expected to be ratified at a Sinn Féin party meeting last night.

Ms Nic Biorna, a former pupil at Coláiste Feirste, has been a Sinn Féin activist since the age of 16.

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