Aontu councillor steps down over Covid-19 differences with party

Retired doctor critical of calls for people to wear face masks

One of Aontú’s two councillors in Northern Ireland has announced she is stepping down from Derry and Strabane District Council due to differences of opinion over dealing with Covid-19.

Retired doctor Anne McCloskey, who has demonstrated against some of the coronavirus regulations, including mask-wearing, has been at odds with her party over the handling of Covid. She was one of the founding members of Aontú.

“I will be stepping down as a councillor to facilitate a new Aontú councillor to take the reins. My views on Covid-19 are different from Aontú and as a result I am stepping down from this role. I am however committed to Aontú’s development in the future and will remain an active member,” she said.

Dr McCloskey added, “It has been a privilege to serve the people of Derry at council for the last 17 months especially so as a member of the new all Ireland movement Aontú. In that time I have done my best to make sure that our values of life, Irish unity and economic justice have had a strong voice on Derry City Council”.


She said at part of her political work she also focused on the “massive economic difficulties that exist here in the north west due to years of underfunding by unionist parties and SF and the SDLP”.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said Dr McCloskey was “held in enormous respect, as a brave and courageous friend and comrade throughout Aontú”.

“Anne is a woman of conviction and has never held back in terms of effort as a doctor, as an elected rep and as a party activist. We thank her for all her help in the past and look forward to working with her in the future,” he said.

Mr Tóibín said Aontú will hold a selection convention in Derry in the coming weeks to co-opt a new member on the council.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times