Limavady borough’s last ever mayor brought the curtain down on 42 years of history on Tuesday as he closed the final Council meeting.
After agreeing to replace the Mannanán Mac Lir sculpture by Game of Thrones sculptor, John Darren Sutton, expressing strong opposition to cuts in local library opening hours, legacy grants to community groups, and bi-lingual street signs, councillors said their goodbyes and gave thanks to employees who had helped them over the years.
DUP Colr. Alan Robinson spoke emotionally of how he and so many others had “cut their political teeth” inside the chamber at Limavady Council, and of his “special role in this exceptional little place”.
While the 42 years had not been “plain sailing”, Colr. Robinson said there was much councillors did well. While there had been “significant tension at times” and “unsavoury” decisions made, he said he would miss the parochial nature of local Council politics but looked forward to the “new dawn” in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council. Fellow DUP Colr. James McCorkell also expressed thanks to staff and to chief executive, Liam Flanigan, for their support throughout the years.
TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas gave warm thanks to all staff who he said had taken their fair share of criticism over the years, but were always courteous and helpful.
Sinn Fein Colr. Anne Brolly said her fellow party members had always been treated with courtesy and thanked all Council employees. She said it was an historic night and the end of an era. Sinn Fein’s Sean McGlinchey thanked the press for covering meetings and highlighting issues important to local communities, Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers thanked all staff and, in particular, those in the chief executive’s office during her time as mayor.
SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said during the past 23 years he had served on Limavady Council he had witnessed “the rough with the smooth”. He said while at least 90 per cent of the work was completed without too much issue, it was the 10 per cent of work on issues such as flags and emblems, and the sale of the Market Yard, that made negative headlines.
Thanking staff, Colr. Coyle added: “We have made an impact on the borough of Limavady.”
The SDLP’s Gerry Mullan thanked all Council staff for their hard work and courtesy over the years. He said he took great pride in helping deliver the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre - a fabulous building that would be there for years - and the Sculpture Trail.
Chief executive Liam Flanigan thanked his “excellent” senior team of officers who he said came to Council every month and faced hard, probing questions from members.
“That’s true accountability,” he said, expressing disbelief he had served as Council chief for almost a decade. Mr Flanigan also thanked all Council staff who he said were there to help people and were a credit to Council.
Councillors have agreed to organise a civic reception for past and present Limavady councillors, and a fireworks display is also being organised to mark the end of the Council before the Causeway Coast and Glens Council comes into being on April 1, 2015.