Northern Ireland

Steven Agnew: Former Green leader stepping down as MLA

Steven Agnew Image copyright PA
Image caption Steven Agnew led the Green Party in Northern Ireland between 2011 and 2018

The former Green Party leader Steven Agnew is standing down as an MLA for North Down.

Mr Agnew has been an MLA for eight years and was party leader for seven, before stepping down in 2018.

He has will take up a role as head of the Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group (NIRIG) in October.

Mr Agnew said he left Parliament Buildings "with great memories and in the knowledge that I've made a positive difference".

Assembly members have not been able to take their seats at Stormont since January 2017, when the power-sharing executive, led by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, collapsed.

Green Party NI Leader Clare Bailey MLA said Mr Agnew has served the people of North Down "well".

"When Steven was our sole MLA he delivered the Children's Services Co-operation Act - his record speaks for itself and we wish him every success in the future," she added.

Children's Bill

Mr Agnew, who worked with the homeless before entering politics, joined the Green Party in 2003 after meeting the then leader Dr John Barry at a protest against the Iraq War.

He was elected leader of the party in 2011 and that same year, he was the first assembly member to bring a motion calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised.

In 2015, he succeeded in getting the assembly to pass the Children's Services Co-Operation Bill, which placed a legal duty on government agencies to co-operate when it came to children's services.

'Champion of renewables'

NIRIG is a joint collaboration between the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and RenewableUK which advises on renewable energy policy.

NIRIG Chair Rachel Anderson said: "During his time as an MLA, Steven has been a passionate champion of renewables.

"I know he will be a strong advocate for NIRIG as we strive to achieve a low carbon, high growth economy in Northern Ireland and I look forward to working alongside him."

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