One of the Green Party’s most high profile figures in Northern Ireland is to quit politics two and a half years after a major breakthrough in which he won the Greens’ first seat on Belfast City Council.
Ross Brown, who was elected to the council in 2014, stood for the Greens in May’s Assembly election, where he was in contention for a seat in East Belfast but ultimately lost out.
He polled 2,183 first preference votes but attracted a lot of transfers before eventually being eliminated on the 13th and final stage of the count. ON the same day, Mr Brown was the Green candidate in the European election, polling more than 10,000 votes across Northern Ireland.
In a statement at lunch time today, the Greens announced that Mr Brown will resign his Ormiston seat on the council.
The party said that Mr Brown had decided to step down from politics last month, “having been offered a new job which will require him to move away from Northern Ireland”.
The party has already selected Georgina Milne to replace him on the council.
Political opponents from the DUP, Alliance Party and the Conservatives were among those to pay tribute to Mr Brown, with DUP MLA Christopher Stalford, a former Belfast councillor, saying that he was “always courteous and civil”.
Mr Brown had worked in the Stormont office of the Green leader in Northern Ireland, Steven Agnew.
Mr Agnew said: “I would like to thank Ross for his hard work representing his constituents and wish him well for the future. Councillors work incredibly hard on behalf of their constituents, and Ross has been a shining example of this since his election in 2014.”
Mr Brown said “I want to take this opportunity to offer thanks to my mentors, fellow councillors and City Hall staff who have helped me serve my constituents as best I can.
“Most of all, however, I want to thank the people of East Belfast for putting their trust in me to represent them. I am sure that they will offer the same level of support to my successor, Georgina Milne, who I am confident will serve them well.”
Ms Milne, who will replace Mr Brown, said: “Ross has been a dedicated public servant and I wish him well in his future endeavours. I will have big shoes to fill, but look forward to having the opportunity of representing the people of Ormiston – and Belfast more widely – as a councillor.
“I was born and raised in East Belfast, so know the challenges that it faces, but also the opportunities that it has. I look forward to making the lives of the people who live here better in any way that I can, and cannot wait to get stuck into the role.”