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Political colleagues pay tribute to former councillor John Hanna

Ulster Unionists have been paying tribute to John Leslie Hanna, the former Banbridge councillor who was killed in a single vehicle road traffic accident yesterday (Monday).

Mr Hanna had been driving a tractor on the Ballinalea Road at Ballintoy at around 3.45pm when the accident happened.

The 66-year-old, who served as a councillor for 22 years before stepping down before the new super-councils came into place, has been described as a man who had public service in his DNA.

Ulster Unionist Party Leader Mike Nesbitt led the tributes and expressed his sympathy.

He said: “Like everybody else I am deeply shocked and saddened by the news of John Hanna’s tragic passing. My heartfelt condolences go out to John’s family, especially his wife Joan, his friends and all the many colleagues he worked with over the years.

“John Hanna was an exemplary public servant who always sought to put the needs of his constituents ahead of his own. He made an immense contribution during his 22 years’ service as an elected member on Banbridge District Council, during which he achieved much for local people.

“John remained grounded in his community for whom he secured many significant funding opportunities to improve facilities and resources right across the area.

“I have no doubt that he will be fondly remembered for this for many years to come.”

Ulster Unionist Party MLA for North Antrim and Association Chairman Robin Swann said: “I had known John for many years, especially through his wife and North Antrim Party colleague Joan.

“He was a remarkable character who was not afraid to speak his mind but it was clear that public service was in his DNA. He will be greatly missed.”

Ulster Unionist Causeway Councillor Sandra Hunter added: ““I am shocked at John’s tragic passing. As a loving husband to my colleague on the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Joan Baird, I cannot begin to express our sorrow.

“This tragic incident has shocked the community right across the local area and once again demonstrates the fragility of life. On behalf of my Council colleagues I would express my deepest condolences to the family.”

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