Tuesday’s meeting of Derry City Council was the final one for a number of well-known local councillors who will not be seeking re-election.
The meeting was the last before the local government election, which will be held on May 5.
SDLP stalwart Mary Bradley is standing down after 25 years on Council, while her party colleagues, Helen Quigley and Mark H Durkan, are also stepping down after eleven and six years respectively.
DUP alderman Gregory Campbell, who served on Council for 30 years, is also not seeking re-election but was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Mayor of Derry, Colr. Colum Eastwood, paid tribute to the outgoing councillors and wished them well in the future.
“A number of councillors will be voluntarily leaving Council after many years of service and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the service they have given to the people of this city,” he said.
SDLP group leader, Colr. Gerry Diver, paid tribute to his outgoing colleagues. “On behalf of the SDLP I want to acknowledge the contribution made by Mary Bradley, Helen Quigley and Mark H Durkan. Alderman Campbell is also leaving at this stage and I would like to acknowledge the service all have given to this Council and the community.
“The lot of an elected official can be a difficult one and I would like to wish them every success and happiness for the future,” he said.
DUP alderman Joe Miller also paid tribute to the councillors who will not be returning after the election. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mary and Helen for many years, and with Mark for a shorter time.
“My own party’s Gregory Campbell is stepping down after 30 years and it would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to him. He brought me onto Council 22 years ago and was my mentor, he said.
Sinn Féin Colr. Gerry MacLochlainn also wished the councillors well. “We are seeing a number of hard working councillors stepping down and there may be some more. We don’t know who they are but the electorate does. I’d like to thank the outgoing members for their service and wish them well for the future,” he said.
Ulster Unionist alderman Mary Hamilton also paid tribute to the outgoing councillors.
Colr. Bradley thanked the members for their remarks.
“I’m retiring after 25 years and it is with good memories. I’d like to thank the council staff for their co-operation over the years and wish all my colleagues well as they go forward to a new election,” she said.
Colr. Quigley said: “It has been a great honour and privilege to serve as a member of council and serve the people of the city.”
Colr Durkan also said it was a privilege to serve local people and said he hopes to continue to serve them in another forum, a reference to his Assembly election campaign.
The SDLP have not yet announced who will be contesting the seats vacated by the outgoing councillors but the list is likely to include Angela Dobbins, Eamonn McCauley, and Fionna Hamilton.