A veteran Republican activist has become the latest high-profile member of Sinn Féin to quit the party over its support for abortion.
Longstanding Derry-based Francis Brolly is among several Sinn Féin politicians on both sides of the border to speak out strongly against the party line on the issue.
Mr Brolly, a former member of the North’s legislative assembly, voiced his disappointment that a motion he put forward to allow members a conscience vote was rejected, he told The Irish News: “Had they allowed that I think a lot of elected members in Sinn Féin would have been very relieved.”
“I am totally opposed to abortion in any circumstances,” he said.
“It’s wrong, you just can’t justify the killing of an innocent human being whether it’s born or unborn.”
He added that “the only difference between me now and when I was in my mother’s womb is I’m a lot older and I think better developed”.
His wife Anne, a former Mayor of Limavady, left the party in 2016 due to their abortion stance.
Both are members of pro-life group Cherish All The Children Equally which opposes abortion across Ireland.
This comes as Mary Lou McDonald made it clear that TDs who oppose the party policy on abortion will face disciplinary action this month.
So far, two TDs, Carol Nolan and Peadar Tóibín, have been vocal about their opposition to repealing the Eighth Amendment.
Although Sinn Féin’s position is to support legislating for abortion, the party is expected to hold an ard fhéis in April to vote on whether they support legislation that would allow for unrestricted access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.