Family Comes First, Says Mcateer

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

OUTGOING Independent Newry City Councillor Kevin McAteer has reflected with pride on his achievements in his three years as a local representative, writes Martin McGuigan.

Citing personal reasons, Mr McAteer last week announced that he was no longer standing as the People Before Profit candidate for Newry and Armagh in the forthcoming Stormont elections, and that he was set to stand down as a councillor from March 1.

In March last year the councillor opened up to the Democrat about his battle with depression and his attempted suicide in 2009, and said that his personal health and concern for his family's welfare was behind his decision to step aside from local politics. 

 "It is with a heavy heart that I have chosen to stand down as a public representative for Newry City. It has been no secret that I suffer from depression, which I revealed last year in order to help others," said Mr McAteer.

Only last week, Mr McAteer declared his intentions to stand in the Assembly Election for People Before Profit Alliance. However, after consulting with his family and his doctor, he decided that his health must take precedence.

“As of late I have been diagnoised with an anxiety disorder. After lengthy discussions with my doctor and family I have chosen to give up politics in order to work on regaining my health.

"I wish those taking part in the election the very best of luck. For me the most important things now will be my health, my family and also focusing on my nursing career."

Since announcing his decision, Mr McAteer said he has been overwhelmed by the number of messages of goodwill he's received.

Thanking the public for their support, said: "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the general public who've sent me messages of support and goodwill. I've received hundreds of messages from people wishing me well, and I have to say, it means a lot."

He also spoke of his pride at championing a number of important issues throughout his tenure, including mental health.

"Throughout my time as a councillor, I've always tried to give my best for my constituents. I'm proud of the work that I've done and the issues I've raised-particularly talking the important issue of mental health and my going public with my own mental health struggles.

"I believe mental health should no longer be a taboo subject and that people need to be able to talk openly and frankly about it.

""I would like to thank the people of Newry for all their support and I would like to commend all the staff at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for all their hard work. I would also like to pay tribute to my political colleagues, councillors, MLAs and MPs; public life is not easy for politicians and it is certainly not easy for our families.

Wishing Mr McAteer all the best in he future, a People Before Profit spokesperson said: "Ideally, People Before Profit would like to have a whole fleet of candidates for election across the North - including in Newry, Mourne and Down - but at this late stage it's just not possible with the snap election looming. 

"It's a shame, because from what I can see, Kevin was a great Councillor and it would have been great to have him onboard, but the party respect totally what he has to do for himself and his family at this time. We'd like to wish both Kevin and his family all the best."


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