SDLP Councillor Gerry Diver was applauded at his final council meeting in the Guildhall Pat Ramsey as a Foyle MLA.
Mr. Diver received plaudits from different parties for his work over the past 14 years.
We have had many dealings with you in your role as group leader of the SDLP. We have always found you courteous, articulate and fair.Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming
Mr. Diver has also been the SDLP group leader in the council for the past four years.
Tributes were led by his SDLP colleague, Councillor John Boyle at the December meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council.
Colr. Boyle said there was “mixed emotions” for the party: ““We wish Gerard a fond farewell because quite clearly the Stormont Assembly’s gain will indeed be this Council’s loss. We in the SDLP feel that way too- it’s a gain for our Team Stormont and a loss for the team here.
“I probably speak for everyone when I say we appreciate how diligently Gerard has worked across the city and district.”
Colr. Boyle also said Mr Diver was a “first class” Mayor of Derry when he was bestowed with the honour of being First Citizen back in 2008-09.
Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming thanked Mr Diver for the service he has obviously given to the community in the local area, agreeing that his year as Mayor has been “very distinguished”.
“We have had many dealings with you in your role as group leader of the SDLP. We have always found you courteous, articulate and fair.
“I wish you well in your new position and your new responsibilities, challenging and exciting as they will be.”
UUP Councillor Derek Hussey wished Mr Diver “the very best” on behalf of his party,and said it had been a “privilege and a pleasure” to work alongside him in the council, while UUP Councillor Mary Hamilton also expressed her best wishes.
DUP Councillor Drew Thompson meanwhile said: “On behalf of the DUP I thank you for the service you have given. I think you have always acted fairly and you always gave a fair viewpoint on any decisions that were taken,”
Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly also wished Mr Diver the best for the future.
Mr Diver himself thanked the people of the Waterside for voting him into office four times in a row, and also paid tribute to his party colleagues, fellow councillors and council staff both past and present.
He added that while he was sorry to be leaving, the new council was in capable hands.
There was a round of applause from Mr Diver’s colleagues before Mayor Elisha McCallion paid tribute to Mr Diver and also to Pat Ramsey for the work they have done.