IN an unexpected announcement during the start of a full meeting of Down District Council, the chamber was stunned as Down District Council Chairman Councillor Mickey Coogan made an announcement that he has resigned from his party, Sinn Féin.
Speaking during Chairman’s Remarks as the meeting got underway, Councillor Coogan said: “This is a difficult decision for me to make but I have no other choice. But I will continue my term as Council Chairman and as a councillor. I still have a number of projects in Ballynahinch to see through and I will be completing these.”
The Sinn Féin Chairperson of South Down Ryan Morgan has said following the meeting that he was sad and disappointed that Ballynahinch Councillor Mickey Coogan had tendered his resignation from the party. Mr. Morgan said: “Mickey Coogan has served Sinn Féin since 2005 on Council so I am disappointed he has decided to resign from the party.
“Despite offers from myself and other senior party colleagues to meet with Mr. Coogan to discuss any difficulties, he has yet to give a substantial reason why he decided to resign.”
However, following the announcement during the meeting, Sinn Féin Councillor Stephen Burns replied to Councillor Coogan by saying that “the decision is regrettable but we call on you to resign as a Ballynahinch Councillor and step down from the Council chair.” Councillor Coogan replied saying: “I will be remaining as a councillor and as Council Chairman. I have found it difficult to take this decision but I am not sure if Councillor Burns is making that a proposal.”
Councillor Burns declined to press the matter and the Council business moved on.