Karen McKevitt quitting as South Down MLA

Karen McKevitt is stepping down having been an MLA since 2011
Karen McKevitt is stepping down having been an MLA since 2011

The SDLP’s Karen McKevitt will not contest next year’s Assembly election.

The South Down representative, who has been an MLA since 2011, is considering quitting public life completely.

She said: “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.”

Ms McKevitt, a former Newry and Mourne District councillor, has long campaigned for defibrillators to be installed in all public buildings across Northern Ireland after her father died from a heart attack aged 47.

“I am proud of the contribution that I and my team have made,” she added.

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell described her as a “fierce advocate” for local people.

“We all sincerely hope that Karen remains involved in public life,” he said.