Three Larne unionist councillors have announced they are not putting their names forward for election to the new Mid and East Antrim Council.
DUP Councillors Winston Fulton and Bobby McKee have said they will step down at the end of their Larne council term in 2015. And the TUV has paid tribute to veteran alderman, Jack McKee.
Mr Fulton, who has served on council since winning a by-election in 1979 and Mr McKee who was first elected in 1989, have both served as Mayor of the Borough.
Following the announcement, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said:“The announcement from Winston and Bobby that they will not be standing for election to the new council brings to an end a combined 58 years of service to the Larne Borough.
“Since before my election to Parliament I have known them and the work that they have done on behalf of the people in the borough.
“Their continued success and the votes that they have received over the years is testament to their hard work and a demonstration of how well they are regarded.
“Winston has served the Coast Road area with dedication since he was first elected and was elected Mayor of the Borough twice. He has been well aware of the issues that people faced down through the years and has always been of great assistance to those who have come to him needing help.
“After his term finishes next year I have no doubt that he will continue to be an asset to the party.
“I wish him and his wife Eileen well as his service in council comes to an end.
“Bobby has worked tirelessly across the Borough over his five terms as Mayor and has successfully sought to reach out to people of all backgrounds. He has been a champion for his constituents and in particular those who are disabled. He will be missed by people from right across the borough and especially by those in the Larne Lough area that he has represented since 1989.
“This is truly the end of an era, however the DUP in Larne will shortly be announcing our new candidates for the forthcoming election and I know that they will work in the same manner and with the same dedication that Winston and Bobby have over the years,” said Mr Wilson.
Meanwhile, as he announced the candidatures in the Larne Lough wards of Ruth Wilson and Ken Johnston, TUV leader Jim Allister confirmed that Ald Jack McKee is standing down after over 40 years of service to Larne council.
“Jack’s record of service to Larne is unrivalled. Ever the people’s councillor, he has selflessly given over four decades of service and even latterly when his health has presented challenges, Jack has still served with great diligence and effect. Jack McKee is a living object lesson of what a good councillor is,” he said.