Sinn Fein have issued their first statement in reaction to the resignation of 18 party members in North Antrim.
News of the mass resignations came the same morning that Sinn Fein posted an image online showing Philip McGuigan signing official papers to make him an MLA.
Mr McGuigan was drafted in as Sinn Fein’s new North Antrim MLA after Daithi McKay, the former post-holder, resigned on August 18 following a scandal about alleged witness coaching.
It is understood the mass regisnations are a protest at Sinn Fein’s treatment of Mr McKay.
On Tuesday morning, Sinn Fein issued the following statement: “Sinn Féin is disappointed at the decision of individuals in North Antrim to resign from the party following Daithí McKay’s resignation as MLA.
“Daithi McKay acknowledged that his contact with loyalist Jamie Bryson was inappropriate and wrong.
“Sinn Féin’s Cuige Uladh consulted with party activists in the North Antrim area and, following approval by the party’s Ard Chomhairle, Philip McGuigan was coopted as an MLA for the constituency.
“We are disappointed at the decision of the individuals to resign.
“Sinn Féin will continue to provide first-class representation for the people of North Antrim.”