A spokesperson for the SDLP has said it regrets the decision of former Banbridge councillor Marie Hamilton to stand down from the party after 17 years.
Mrs Hamilton who was the last Chair of Banbridge District Council from 2014-2015, said her decision was a hard one to make and claimed the reason was mainly due to the party’s hierarchy who she claimed had ‘let down her voters.’
A spokesperson for the party praised Mrs Hamilton, for her hard work throughout the years and hoped she would reconsider.
She was described by the party as an excellent ‘public representative’ who had failed to get re-elected last year.
“The party wants to put on record our sincere thanks to Marie for her loyal service to the people of Banbridge,” the spokesperson for the party said.
“We would encourage her to reconsider this decision but we wish Marie all the best for her future endeavours.”
The party offered no comment on Mrs. Hamilton’s allegations that it had neglected Banbridge and let down local voters.
On her Facebook page, the former councillor said the reason to leave was not taken lightly.
“Many who know me will realise I had several reasons for resigning, including feeling personally let down over the last few years,” she reported. “The SDLP voters from the town and beyond, who for many years kept true to the party, were let down.
“In my opinion the SDLP hierarchy have little in common with the working class and those most in need, and are not reflective of their SDLP title.
“It is time to look after the most vulnerable in our society and politicians should stop using them as political footballs. We need elected representatives, who will make an effort to improve everyone’s lives and stop squabbling like children in the playground.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone for the supportive private and personal messages which I have received since I announced my resignation.”
Mrs Hamilton joined the SDLP almost two decades ago, canvassing for MP’sand councillors and was also an election agent for three elections and was Banbridge Town branch secretary for over 13 years.
She had worked with MLA Dolores Kelly, as a volunteer at the Rathfriland Street office from 2011 to 2014.
Mrs Hamilton also represented the SDLP as a councillor from 2011 to March 2015.
She praised the party for its support in signing the Petition of Concern regarding the budget cuts and with their fight with the Health Trusts and budget cuts.