Political news

SDLP's Sharon Haughey-Grimley to step away from politics to spend time with young children

Sharon Haughey-Grimley introduced her seventh-month-old son Ryan to former mentor Hillary Clinton on Friday

FORMER Armagh mayor Sharon Haughey-Grimley is to step away from politics next year to spend more time with her young children.

One of the first people the SDLP representative told about her decision not to seek re-election was former mentor Hillary Clinton.

Ms Haughey-Grimley first came to public attention when President Bill Clinton quoted a letter she had written to him about her hopes and vision for Northern Ireland.

She went on to share a platform with the Clintons in Armagh in 1995 and worked for Mrs Clinton in the US Senate.

She currently combines a full-time job with Ulster GAA with serving the Cusher ward of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and caring - alongside her husband Gerard - for their three young boys.

"This has been a very hard decision for me but know it's 100 per cent right for my family," she said yesterday.

"I am truly honoured to have represented my community for so long and I thank all those who have supported me over the years. I'm feeling very overwhelmed by all the comments, messages and calls already this morning."

Mrs Haughey-Grimley was first elected a councillor in 2005 and served as Armagh mayor in 2012.

According to the Ulster Gazette, Mrs Clinton expressed disappointment when the pair met at an event in Trinity College Dublin on Friday, but told her to "cherish these days when your children are young".

"I now have three beautiful boys aged four and under and they need their mummy," Ms Haughey-Grimley told the paper.

"I have lived a very hectic life for many years now, dedicated to serving others, and I have decided it's now time to slow down and, with my children, it's time to be at home more."

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