Alliance Leader David Ford paid tribute to Seán Neeson saying: “Seán has been a massive player down the years in both the peace process and within the Alliance Party.
“He has worked tirelessly for East Antrim and he led Alliance will integrity and vision. Seán has been one of the most positive forces for change in Northern Ireland over the past three decades.
“He will be much missed in the Assembly, and East Antrim will have lost a valuable advocate when he steps down.”
Seán Neeson MLA said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of East Antrim at the Assembly.
“It has been very rewarding and at times extremely challenging trying to build peace in Northern Ireland . I want to pay tribute to all those who, during the darkest days of the troubles, worked hard from the centre ground to bring this society forward towards a peaceful and shared future.
“I will miss the Assembly and I will miss serving the people of East Antrim but I have so many fond memories of these times. I want to thank my wife Carol for her contribution and support throughout the years and I also want to thank to all those who have worked so hard alongside me and those who have worked for me.
“After I step down, I want to devote more time to maritime heritage and I am a member of UK National Historic Ships Committee and a member of the Nomadic Trust.”