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DUP Leader Edwin Poots has paid tribute to party colleague Gordon Dunne who has announced that he is stepping down as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for health reasons.

Mr Poots said, “Gordon has faced the diagnosis of illness with the same determination and good humour which has marked his 36 years as an elected representative. I know the thoughts and best wishes of colleagues not just in the DUP, but across the political spectrum are with Gordon as he steps down from public life.

Firstly as a Councillor and then as an MLA, Gordon has been a shining example of a politician rooted in the local community and focused on its needs. The people of North Down, and Holywood in particular were always at the forefront of his mind and policy was scrutinised on the impact it would have on their lives.

Both as a colleague and as a friend I wish Gordon well has he focuses on his health and enjoys more time with his family. Whilst stepping back from public life Gordon will remain as an encourager and guide to many of us within the Party. There is no better phrase to sum up Gordon’s political career than his own slogan that he was “here to help you get things Dunne”.”