Former Mayor of Derry, Councillor Shaun Gallagher, has stepped down from Derry City Council.
The veteran SDLP councillor represented the Shantallow area of the city for 25 years and served as mayor in 2003-04.
The announcement that Colr. Gallagher is stepping down from Council was made by the Mayor, Colr. Martin Reilly at the monthly meeting of Derry City Council in the Guildhall on Tuesday.
Colr. Gallagher was not present at the meeting.
His resignation from Derry City Council came just days after an SDLP selection convention in the city to choose candidates for next year’s local government elections, which will see Derry and Strabane’s council’s merge.
The former mayor was not selected as a candidate to contest the poll, with the party stating that he had chosen to take early retirement.
Paying tribute to the former Mayor, Colr. Reilly said: “Shaun has been a member of our party for many years and has always been an advocate for the people of Shantallow and served everyone as Mayor of the city.
“It is with sadness on our part that he is not seeking election again next year and has opted to take early retirement. I wish him and his family well in the future.”
SDLP Councillor Brenda Stevenson added: “On behalf of our own party I want to wish him well.
“He has served the city well and served at a time when it was not the safest place to be. Shaun came under fire himself on many occasions.
“He has served the people of Shantallow and the wider city well. On behalf of the SDLP I wish Shaun and his wife, Majella, well.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan also paid tribute to Colr. Gallagher. “Shaun and I always worked well together,” he said.
“We have had our party political differences but we always got on well outside the chamber.
“He was a great environmentalist and served as Chair of the Environmental Services Committee on a number of occasions.
“I wish him all the best for the future,” he said.
DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney commended the former mayor for his work to promote education. “I wish Shaun well and all the best for the future.
“I served with him on the Western Education and Library Board and he was always very proactive and raised many issues with education along with myself and he will certainly be missed in this chamber,” he said.
UUP Alderman Mary Hamilton also paid tribute to the former SDLP councillor. “I wish Shaun and his wife and family all the best for the future and thank him for all of his years of service on Council.”
Mr Gallagher was first elected to Derry City Council at the 1989 local government elections and has been elected by voters in Shantallow at every election ever since.
He has served as chairperson of a number of Council committees, including the environmental services committee.
He also served on the North West Region Waste Management Group. Throughout his time on Council he regularly raised health issues and served on the Western Health and Social Care Trust.