HIGH-profile Aontú councillor Anne McCloskey has announced her resignation from Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The Irish News reports that the retired GP said she was stepping down because her views on how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled were at odds with the party.
However, she will remain a party member.
The Derry woman is one of just two Aontú councillors in the North of Ireland.
Dr McCloskey resigned as national deputy leader of the pro-life two weeks ago.
She has been an outspoken critic of calls for people to wear face masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and has criticised the way cases and deaths are officially recorded.
“I will be stepping down as a councillor to facilitate a new Aontú councillor to take the reins,” she said.
“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.”
Party 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.
“She 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.”
Mr Tóibín added that the party would hold a selection convention to decide on Dr McCloskey’s council replacement.