Outgoing Mayor of Derry, Martin Reilly, said the thing he will miss most about being the city’s First Citizen, is witnessing “first hand the positivity people have for Derry”.
Speaking to The Derry Journal before his last official engagement as mayor, the SDLP councillor said he thoroughly enjoyed his time as mayor and said the level of positivity experienced over the last 12 months had been memorable.
“It was a great honour being mayor of this amazing city.
“The Music City day we held in Derry last year was pretty special because it all started with choirs singing in Grianán of Aileach before everyone headed back into Derry to watch the Sky Orchestra air balloons over the city.
“I think that day was my favourite as mayor because I think it celebrated absolutely everything that is brilliant about this city.
“I will miss it, if I am being honest. I will miss meeting so many positive people and I’ll miss witnessing the positive work they do for their city first hand,” he said.
“I’d really like to thank all of the council staff both in the Guildhall and at the Council Buildings on the Strand Road for helping to make my year as mayor a memorable one.”
Colr. Reilly joined Derry City Council in 2004 and in recent weeks he was returned as a councillor for the District Electoral Area of Waterside. He will take his seat in the new Derry and Strabane Super Council next year.
However, Colr. Reilly is also a parliamentary researcher for Foyle MP Mark Durkan.
“Myself and my wife Bronagh will take a few days to ourselves but then it’s a case of getting back to the job of serving not just the people of the Waterside as a councillor but as a parliamentary researcher in Mark Durkan’s office in Bishop Street.”
Colr. Reilly handed over the mayoral chain to party colleague, Brenda Stevenson, at Derry City Council’s Annual General Meeting in the Guildhall last night.
Mrs. Stevenson failed to win a seat in the Derry and Strabane Super Council but with it not coming into practice until next year she will serve out the next 12 months as Derry’s First Citizen.
“My advice to Brenda is to enjoy every single minute of it because before you know it’s over.
“I would say to her to take every diary appointment because it’s just amazing meeting so many people who are passionate about this city.
“From the community groups to former US President Bill Clinton and Irish President Michael D. Higgins - the people who hold our city in high regard is long and distinguished,” said Colr. Reilly.