Northern Ireland news

Padraig McShane returns to council after councillor Ambrose Laverty stands down

Padraig McShane has returned as an independent member of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
Connla Young

A PROMINENT Co Antrim politician has returned to frontline politics just months after retiring.

Independent councillor Padraig McShane stepped down from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council earlier this year after deciding not to contest May's local government elections.

His seat was subsequently retained by fellow independent Ambrose Laverty.

However, after serving just five months as a councillor Mr Laverty is understood to have resigned last week.

It is understood that he had nominated Mr McShane to replace him in such an event.

A spokeswoman for the Electoral Office confirmed yesterday that the chief electoral officer “has declared that the seat has been filled by Padraig McShane”.

A former Sinn Féin councillor, Mr McShane has been embroiled in controversy in the past.

In 2016 he was suspended from the council for three months by a standards watchdog when he was found to have breached a code of conduct after being pictured with an Irish tricolour and a Palestinian flag in the council's chamber.

In 2017 he was found guilty of assault on police, disorderly behaviour and taking part in an un-notified parade after he was arrested at an Orange Order march in Ballycastle a year earlier.

In the past his effigy has been placed on a loyalist bonfire in north Antrim, while police contacted him last year after a bullet addressed to him was intercepted in the post.

In 2014 his Ballycastle home was damaged in an arson attack he blamed on loyalists.

Last night he said: “I am delighted to be replacing Ambrose and thank him for placing his faith in me.

“The reasons for my return will become apparent over time."

He also paid tribute to his predecessor.

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