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Councillor quits over IRA connection

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A Croydon LBC member has stepped down from the council’s cabinet after admitting to close ties with the IRA in the 1970s.

Cllr Maria Gatland (Con) has resigned as the south London council’s cabinet member for children and young people after it came to light that she was the author of ‘To Take Arms: My Year with the Provisional IRA’.

She wrote the book under her maiden name Maria McGuire.

Mrs Gatland moved to England, later married, and entered local politics in 2002, representing Cosham ward in Croydon.

A statement issued by the council said: “The council has been advised that Maria Gatland has resigned as cabinet member for children, young people and learners.

“This follows emerging news of her connection to the Provisional IRA - which has come as a complete shock to Croydon.

“Officers understand she has been urged to resign from the council. Urgent steps have been taken to immediately replace her as the children’s services portfolio holder.

The council wants to make it emphatically clear that it had no prior knowledge of her background which had been concealed from her former colleagues in the Conservative majority group."

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