Jack McKee, Northern Irish politician, died at 71

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Alderman Jack McKee, born in 1944 and died on October 4, 2015, he was a politician in Larne, Northern Ireland.

Until his resignation from the party in 2007, Jack was a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) councillor.

He is one of the longest-serving councillors on Larne Borough Council; like the Ulster Unionist Party’s Roy Beggs, he has served continuously since the council was formed in 1973.

Every council election he runs in the Larne Lough electoral district.

He was also elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996 and the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982.

At an anti-Good Friday Agreement protest in Antrim on April 1998 Jack shared a platform with a fellow DUP member Sammy Wilson and Kenneth Peeples, a leader of the Orange Volunteers and Protestant fundamentalist, who burned a copy of the agreement.

In 2000 he was accused by fellow Larne councillor and Social Democratic and Labour Party member Danny O’Connor of raising tensions in the Catholic Seacourt estate by claiming Irish republicans were targeting the minority Ulster Protestant population in the estate.

In 2004 republican political party Sinn Féin claimed Jack had justified a death threat made to Danny O’Connor’s mother by Ulster loyalists erecting a flag outside her house.

McKee has also spoken of his opinion that Larne Borough Council should not provide funding grants to Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) teams as he stated the GAA is a sectarian organisation.

He served as Mayor of Larne in 1984/5, and as leader of the DUP group on Larne Borough Council for many years from 1981.

His brother Bobby McKee is still a DUP councillor in Larne.

Jack McKee resigned from the DUP in January 2007 in protest at the DUP’s preparations for entering government with Sinn Féin.

He subsequently joined the TUV.

Jack cited heavy-handed policing by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) at loyalist protests as the reason for his resignation from the local District Policing Partnership.

He was critical of the PSNI’s handling of the 2012-2013 Northern Ireland protests near the sectarian interface at Short Strand, where he claimed republicans attacked loyalist protesters without police intervention.

In February 2015 Jack objected to a memorial for eight women from Islandmagee convicted of witchcraft because he wasn’t convinced that the women weren’t guilty of devil worship and because he believed the plaque to remember them could become a “shrine to paganism”.

Jack also stated that he could not support the proposal because he believed it to be anti-God.

He died at age 71 on October 4, 2015.

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