Long-serving Alliance politician Pat McCudden has quit the party - just days after completing his term as deputy mayor of Newtownabbey.
Mr McCudden took the decision as he and his wife, Roberta, prepare to leave Ballyclare and start a new life in Carlingford.
The 72-year-old, who didn’t win a seat on the new Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, confirmed that he had resigned from the party after becoming “disillusioned”.
“I joined the party in 1971 and was first elected as a councillor in 1977, but I’ve just become somewhat disillusioned with it all,” he said.
“For all the progress that has been made in the province over the years, if you scratch the surface people are still as entrenched as they were in the early 1970s.
“There’s no point looking back and feeling bitter about people or things that have happened, I’m looking forward to a new life - a non-political life.”
Mr McCudden says he has no regrets about having been a member of the party and points to the fact that he was the only Alliance representative to win a council seat in Ballyclare - in 1977, 1997 and 2011.
A popular figure at Mossley Mill - a building he played a part in redeveloping - Mr McCudden is proud to have served as Newtownabbey’s deputy mayor in 1980/81 and again in 2014/15.
Describing himself as “very much a Ballyclarian”, Mr McCudden said he was “extremely proud” to have been given the opportunity to represent and work for the people of the town over so many years, and particularly of his associations with Ballyclare Rugby Football Club (former president), the May Fair Committee (first ever chairman) and Ballyclare Golf Club.
Looking forward to their move to Carlingford next month, he explained: “I thought I would like village life again.
“When I was growing up Ballyclare was a small market town, but it has grown and expanded over the years almost beyond all recognition.
“I had never been to Carlingford before until a few years ago, but it’s a lovely village. It must be one of the most picturesque places anywhere in Ireland.
“I have so many great friends and I will miss them all, but the good thing is it’s only 60 miles away so I will still see them regularly.”