THE DUP's decision to enter into powersharing with Sinn Fein has led to its first local casualty with the resignation of Councillor Stephen Herron.
Councillor Herron announced his resignation via a press release to this newspaper on the day after the monthly council meeting.
He will continue to sit on the council as a Protestant Unionist.
Councillor Herron said he had no option but to resign following last week’s events.
He had been the secretary of the DUP’s South Down Constituency Association and a member of the party’s ruling executive.
He was also one of 10 members who voted against the resolution to enter government when the DUP executive met on March 24.
Councillor Herron said: “Following the executive meeting, my initial thoughts were that I would remain within the party, however as last week’s events unfolded and the sickening reality of what was taking place sank in, I was left with no option but to resign.”
He said he had many good friends in the party, not least his DUP colleagues on Banbridge Council and that it was with “sadness and heaviness of heart” that he had taken the decision.
He continued: “For me it has been a matter of conscience that I cannot support a party that will sit down in partnership with a mass murderer in the governance of Ulster affairs.
“The views I held on these matters in 1998 I hold today. If it was wrong to have men with blood on their hands in Government then, it is wrong today.”
Councillor Herron said he realised pressure had been put on the DUP leadership and that Peter Hain had “imposed unpalatable things” on the province.
“Public pressure during the election campaign on things like water charges has also been brought to bear on the party and I have to say it is an indictment on the Unionist community when the majority seem that they would rather be governed by members of the IRA army council than have to pay a water bill,” he said.