Derry’s new mayor, SDLP councillor Martin Reilly, received his chain of office at the Annual General Meeting of Derry City Council last night.
DUP alderman Gary Middleton was elected as deputy mayor for the year ahead.
In his first speech as mayor, the new First Citizen vowed to be a “determined advocate for Derry.”
The mayor said Derry has been transformed since he first moved here from Fermanagh and added that the remainder of the City of Culture year presents further opportunities to improve the city.
“We need to grasp this chance to speak positively about Ireland’s north west. There is much to be excited about but of course there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The new mayor also outlined some of his priorities for the year ahead; “We need delivery of the Derry’s One Plan, further development of Ebrington and Fort George, expansion of our University, supported growth of our private sector and serious upgrade of inadequate infrastructure,” he said.
Colr. Reilly also thanked his wife, Bronagh, the city’s new mayoress, and his wider family circle for their support, and paid tribute to former mayor colr. Kevin Campbell.
The political row between the SDLP and Sinn Féin over the controversial special advisor legislation was also mentioned at the AGM.
In his outgoing remarks, former mayor Colr. Campbell said; “My ability to represent the people has not been in any way compromised by the fact that I am an political ex-prisoner.”
Sinn Féin colr. Paul Fleming added; “As a former political prisoner most people would see that you have served this city well, following three former mayors who were also ex prisoners. It is ironic in terms of the shameful act of discrimination against former political prisoners.”