Mr McCarthy, who has represented Alliance at Stormont since the creation of the new institutions following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, said he was “honoured and proud” to have represented the people of Strangford, who he thanked for their support.
Mr McCarthy also served as an Ards Borough Councillor for 28 years and was previously elected to the Forum for Political Dialogue in 1996. He said the time had come to hand the reins over to a new generation of Alliance representatives.
“Enormous progress has been made since 1998, thanks in large part to the role played by Alliance to get the Good Friday Agreement signed and ratified by referendum. However, there are undoubtedly difficulties at Stormont at present, but if people show the willingness, I am confident can be overcome.
“I am proud of the work I have done in almost every region of the Strangford constituency – it does feel like the end of an era. But I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, particularly my grandchildren, and catching up on gardening, walking, cycling and working on my vintage Morris Minor car.
“I have no doubt Strangford will continue to be well represented by whomever Alliance selects to contest the election and they will be a dedicated individual who will work for everyone with zeal and enthusiasm.”