Rachel Woods

Former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly Rachel Woods has announced she’ll be standing down from her position on Ards and North Down Council. Woods was first elected as a councillor in 2016 before she stood down when she was elected to Stormont in 2019. She re-entered Ards and North Down Council at the 2023 local elections.

Woods will be resigning from her position at the end of October to take up a new role.

Following her announcement, Woods said: “It has been my honour and privilege to serve local people as a Councillor and MLA for seven years. I have wholly dedicated my time and energy to people, communities and our local environment and I will never forget the experiences and opportunities offered to me through being your elected representative.

“As an MLA, I brought legislative change to a raft of Bills and Acts, on Stalking, Sexual Offences, Domestic Abuse and within the hospitality industry. I am one of the few representatives to have brought a Private Members Bill introducing life saving legislation for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, for paid leave from work as a day one employment right. I also brought in changes to the Domestic Abuse Act, adding in protections for children and young people and introducing a legal aid waiver for victims of abuse going through the courts. I exposed the level of pollution in our waters and have consistently fought for improved biodiversity, environmental protection and a fair and just society where rights and voices are respected and promoted.

“It was and always will be my immense privilege to serve for the people of Holywood and Clandeboye, and for North Down, for the Green Party NI and it is with a heavy heart that I leave this position.”

The Green Party Northern Ireland leader Mal O’Hara praised Woods for her time on the council. He said: ‘The Green Party team in North Down has achieved so much, despite our size. Rachel has made such an impact locally, getting the council to declare a Climate Emergency in the Borough, introduced a ban on single use plastics internally, brought a water refill scheme, ensured sanitary bins were installed in public toilets, lobbied for the living wage, against further privatisation of our services, challenged our planning system, and supported all those that have been in contact for assistance to her utmost ability.

“She has consistently challenged and questioned, lobbying for much needed change in how we manage our local environment and our services to community, fighting for a greener, cleaner and fairer society. As Greens we are sad to see Rachel move on but we know she will continue to make positive change.”

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