Veteran Republican and long serving councilor in Mid Ulster, Peter Bateson is stepping down from front line politics.
Mr Peter Bateson, who has served in the Ballymaguigan/Newbridge and surrounding area for 13 years, is in his early 60s but is adamant he will not be leaving politics.
Thanking the community he reassured constituents he will be very much active for Sinn Fein in the area.
He said: “It is always an honour and a privilege to be asked by your peers to represent this movement and my community, and for me the priority is always the continued development of Republican politics on this island.
“I am inspired by the new young republicans coming through to take on roles in order to bring our goal of Irish Unity to realisation. If you were to look at this as a journey, it could be said that we are on the home straight. It is inspirational to see young republicans coming through with sound politics.
“I am proud member of the ex-prisoner community, and I draw great inspiration from the ex-prisoners who I meet on a daily basis, some of whom might not share my analysis, but I find that the hard years that they endured with great dignity motivates me. I have not yet met an ex-prisoner who regrets their involvement in the struggle, and that is inspiring in itself.
“I am also motivated by the progressive politics that we have seen rising to the fore in recent times across Ireland, shaking off the shackles of conservatism that suppressed past generations, which we are finally getting rid of.
“I commend anyone who allows their name to be put on a ballot paper- it has become a national pastime to kick political activists, but it takes courage and conviction to stand before the electorate. Similarly, I would criticise those who, having stood for election and lost out, then blame the electorate.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish Donal McPeake, who I was proud to nominate as my replacement, the very best of luck.”