A Sinn Féin councillor and 17 party activists have quit the party in Northern Ireland following the controversy surrounding contacts with a witness to the NAMA inquiry at Stormont.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Paul Maguire and the other members, who are all from the north Antrim area, released the statement to the Ballymena Guardian. 

They said the move was in reaction to the treatment received by former NAMA inquiry chairman and Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay.

Earlier this month, Mr McKay admitted that he had, what he said, was inappropriate and wrong contact with a witness, Jamie Bryson, before he gave evidence to a Stormont hearing.

Mr Bryson, a high-profile loyalist blogger and flag protester, named the then DUP leader Peter Robinson as one of those set to benefit financially from the sale of NAMA properties during the subsequent hearing.

Mr McKay resigned as an MLA and was suspended from the party over the controversy.