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Tributes paid to former Sinn Fein councillor who made "historic advances" for the party

Marie Louise McConville

A FORMER Sinn Féin councillor, who is credited with making "historic advances" on behalf of the party in south Down, has died.

Frank McDowell, who was first elected to Down District Council in 1985, also stood for the party in Westminster in 1986.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said Mr McDowell had represented the party during "very dangerous and difficult times".

"Despite the harassment and intimidation Frank never wavered in his activism. He remained deeply committed to his community and to the struggle for freedom, independence and unity".

Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard described the married father-of-four as someone who "exemplified all that is good about republicanism; of our core values of freedom, equality, and solidarity".

"He was a formidable person, devoted to his family, his community, and his country," he said.

"For those of us who followed in Frank's footsteps in South Down, we will always be indebted to his selfless dedication to serving his community and his people.

"The historic advances made in South Down are a testament to the years of service and dedication that Frank gave to the republican movement".

Requiem Mass for Mr McDowell will take place tomorrow at noon at St Malachy's Church in Kilcoo with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

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