The Mayor of Derry and Strabane’s chain has been valued at a £30,000 as a new medallion is ordered to reflect the council merger.
The council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee yesterday agreed to spend around £1,500 on the new bling to replace the former chain fob which bore the Derry coat of arms.
This was recommended as the preferred of three options, with the council told that another option, replacing the old Derry City Council chain fob with another of similar size in 18 carat gold would cost between £4,000 and £7,000.
The gold chain currently worn by Mayor of Derry and Strabane Elisha McCallion (minus the fob) is one of four used in an official capacity within the new council area.
There is also a chain for a male Mayor’s partner and another for the Deputy Mayor, both valued at around £6,000.
The fourth, Strabane District Council chairperson’s chain- which bears the names of those who have held the first office in the district over the years- is expected to be handed over to the council’s Museum and Heritage Service along with the fobs from the Derry chains.
Ellen Cavanagh, Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Lead Democratic Services and Improvement Officer, told the committee at the Guildhall on Tuesday that the chain currently in use was the same as that used by Derry City Council withy the medallion removed, to save costs.
She said however that in doing so, “the chain appears incomplete and is improperly balanced”.
As well as a replicated fob, another cheaper option considered was altering the current Derry City fob by handpainting it to represent Derry and Strabane, at a cost of £1,000, but that this would alter a historically significant artefact.
The third, recommended option involves commissioning a unique piece of attach to the chain “to represent the integration of the legacy Councils in the new Council.”
The committee backed the recommendation, with former Mayor, SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly said that the proposal should include the Deputy Mayor’ chain, with council officers responding that this would be costed and looked at soon.
DUP Councillor Drew Thompson said he had “no problem in agreeing with what has been suggested here”, and proposed the move, with Colr Reilly seconding it.
Colr. Thompson asked what would happen to the existing chains and medallions now they were not to be used, and was told these would likely be passed to the Museum and Heritage Service.