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Former UUP councillor dies in road accident

The scene of a fatal accident on the Ballinlea Road in Ballintoy, Co Antrim. Picture by Kevin McAuley

A FORMER Ulster Unionist councillor died yesterday in a road crash in Co Antrim.

John Hanna, a former member of Banbridge District Council, was travelling on his tractor when he was killed near his home on the Ballinlea Road, Ballintoy yesterday afternoon.

No other vehicle was involved in the accident.

Mr Hanna was an Ulster Unionist councillor with Banbridge council until his retirement earlier this year.

His wife Joan Baird is an Ulster Unionist member of Causeway Coast & Glens Council.

The road was closed between the junctions of Whitepark Road and Maghery Road following the crash.

Causeway Coast & Glens independent councillor Padraig McShane expressed his condolences to Mr Hanna's wife and family last night.

He said said Mr Hanna was a "larger than life character".

"I recently met John at the Ballintoy vintage tractor rally where he sailed through the village saluting all the onlookers with an endearing and jovial style that was unique to himself," he said.

"On behalf of my friends and colleagues I would extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to Councillor Baird and the Hanna family at this deeply traumatic time."

Upper Bann SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly also said she was saddened by Mr Hanna's death.

She tweeted last night: "Regret to learn of tragic death of former UU Cllr John Hanna in a farm accident today. Sincere sympathy to Joan and family. A friend to many."

DUP councillor Carla Lockhart, who sits on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, also tweeted that Mr Hanna was "a gentleman".

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