Northern Ireland news

Ulster Unionist councillor facing drink-driving charge resigns

Ulster Unionist councillor Mark McKinty has resigned from the party

AN ULSTER Unionist councillor has resigned from the party over a "driving incident" earlier this month.

Mark McKinty, who represents the Larne Lough area of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, is facing a drink-driving charge.

It is understood his case is to be heard before Ballymena Magistrates' Court this morning.

Mr McKinty, who is in his early thirties, has a PhD in Hispanic Studies from Queen's University Belfast.

In a statement, an Ulster Unionist spokesman said Mr McKinty had given his resignation to party leader Robin Swann.

"He informed the party leader that he expected to receive justified sanction this week for a driving incident earlier in the month," the spokesman said.

"He stated that this was unacceptable for a public representative and damaged trust in democracy.

"He made clear that he was genuinely sorry to all those who he had let down."

The spokesman said the party will now select a candidate to fill Mr McKinty's council seat.

Earlier this month, a veteran Ulster Unionist was disqualified as a councillor for 15 months over drink-driving.

Derek Hussey, a former deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, has three convictions for drink-driving.

The acting Local Government Commissioner for Standards, Ian Gordon, imposed the disqualification following a hearing.

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