Sinn Fein Mayor makes history

The Mayor, Councillor Elisiha McCallion pictured with Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin and Glenn Barr, before taking part in the 98th Annual Commemoration Service of the Battle of Messines at the Cenotaph on Sunday. DER2215MC171

The Mayor, Councillor Elisiha McCallion pictured with Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin and Glenn Barr, before taking part in the 98th Annual Commemoration Service of the Battle of Messines at the Cenotaph on Sunday. DER2215MC171

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Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, councillor Elisha McCallion, took part in a historic wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Derry at the weekend.

Sinn Fein Colr. McCallion and party colleague and Assembly Speaker, Mitchell McLaughlin MLA laid wreaths as mark of respect to all of the British and Irish men who lost their lives during the Battle of Messines in 1917.

It was the 14th year of the commemoration and it was the first time Sinn Fein had participated in the ceremony.

“It would be a tragedy if 100 years on we could not commemorate such events in a spirit of understanding,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“People from both traditions went off to fight side by side, leaving aside the political differences they may have had at home.”

Ms McCallion said she was fulfilling a commitment she made at the start of her term of office.

She said: “I said I would represent the entire city and district and an event like this shows that all traditions in the city can be treated with respect and dignity.

“I am grateful to the International School of Peace Studies who have allowed people like me to remember those that died at Messines.”