SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt Not Seeking Party Nomination For South Down

dn_screenSDLP MLA Karen McKevitt has announced that she will not seek the party’s nomination to contest the forthcoming Assembly election.

Mrs McKevitt, who was elected to the Assembly in 2011, said: “I have had 11 wonderful years representing the people of South Down, firstly as a ;ocal councillor on Newry and Mourne District Council from 2005 until 2011 and then as their MLA. I have worked hard on their behalf every day since they elected me and I am proud of the contribution that I, and my team, have made in improving the lives of the people of this constituency.

[caption id="attachment_43130" align="alignleft" width="250"]South Down MLA Karen McKevitt chats to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan at Stormont. South Down MLA Karen McKevitt chats to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan at Stormont.[/caption]

“After much soul-searching, I have decided not to seek the party’s nomination for South Down. I am currently exploring a number of options which may take me away from the world of politics. However, I still have a job to do for the remainder of this mandate and I will maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach in my constituency offices in Warrenpoint and Hilltown. I will continue to offer the people of South Down a first class service.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fantastic people of South Down for electing me and for all their support over the years. I would also like to thank my constituency office team for the magnificent work they have done for the people of the area. I would also like to thank the SDLP Parliamentary Assembly team and staff for their support throughout this mandate.”

SDLP Leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP paid tribute to Mrs McKevitt’s service as an elected representative and said: “Karen has been an excellent servant of the people of South Down and a wonderful asset to the SDLP parliamentary team. Both as a councillor and more recently as an MLA she has been a fierce advocate for local people.

“Karen’s passion for public health has been unrivalled by any MLA from any party. Her work on the provision of defibrillators, for example, has undoubtedly saved lives in South Down and beyond. We all sincerely hope that Karen remains involved in public life.

“Karen will be missed as a member of our team in the Assembly but I know she will continue to work until the very last minute of her mandate to deliver for South Down.”

Coming soon will be the South Down election convention and the seat will be hotly contested.