Convicted councillor withdraws resignation

Independent councillor Patrick Clarke appears at Downpatrick Court. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Independent councillor Patrick Clarke appears at Downpatrick Court. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A former Alliance councillor has withdrawn his resignation from Newry Mourne and Down District Council after being convicted of sexual assault and fraud.

Down councillor Patrick Clarke, now an independent, had said he was standing down on medical grounds however the council says he has withdrawn his verbal resignation.

“Councillor Clarke had advised the Chief Executive verbally that he intends to resign from Council,” a council spokeswoman said. “At no point did Councillor Clarke tender his resignation in writing to the Chief Executive, as required. He has subsequently confirmed in writing to Council that he is not resigning.

“The Council can confirm that Councillor Patrick Clarke has not resigned and continues as a Councillor for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.”

In the past two years the councillor, from Castlewellan, had been convicted of sexual assault; twice defrauding community groups and forcing his way into a neighbour’s house armed with a hammer.

He has apologised, citing alcohol and depression factors, but is currently facing disqualification as a councillor.