Rugby star gives up his council seat

FORMER Ireland rugby international Tyrone Howe has resigned from Banbridge District Council.

Mr Howe tendered his resignation "with regret" citing work priorities as the reason for his decision.

The Ulster Unionist councillor had represented the Dromore ward for two-and-a-half years.

The council will now hold a special meeting in December to discuss how it will fill the vacancy.

In a statement, Mr Howe said that with the increasing time commitments of his job it had become difficult to balance council duties with work priorities.

"I stood for council with the best of intentions and for altruistic reasons rather than any particular personal agenda," he added.

"It certainly has been an experience which has opened my eyes to the workings of local government and also roles of elected representatives.

"I would like to thank chief executive Liam Hannaway and the other council officers and staff for their constant advice and support over the last two-and-a-half years.

"Above all, I am extremely grateful to my colleague Joan Baird who has proved an excellent role model, confidante and guide throughout this time."

Both Mr Hannaway and the council's chairman Councillor John Hanna thanked Mr Howe for the contribution he has made.

Mr Hannaway said: "It's very unfortunate that we are losing such a competent and committed councillor who has shown a high degree of professionalism while carrying out his council duties.

"Knowing how demanding the role of a councillor can be, I understand how difficult it is to strike a balance between work and council commitments.

"Having recently established a new business, Tyrone felt that he was unable to devote himself wholly to the role of councillor.

"On behalf of all council staff, I would like to wish him every success in his future career."

Cllr Hanna added: "My party members and I are feeling dejected to be losing a colleague.

"Tyrone has proved himself to be a good advocate for the people of Dromore.

"On behalf of my party members, I would like to thank him for the time he has given and the work he has undertaken to date."