‘My door will always be open - I’ll do my very best to represent everyone’

Derry and Strabane’s new Mayor, John Boyle, has pledged to provide support and assistance to those most in need in the community.

The SDLP councillor was elected to the role of First Citizen at last night’s annual general meeting of the local council.

Councillor John Boyle, SDLP, who has been elected as the new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council with his partner Angela and Councillor Derek Hussey, UUP Deputy Mayor and his wife, Karen. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 04.06.18

Councillor John Boyle, SDLP, who has been elected as the new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council with his partner Angela and Councillor Derek Hussey, UUP Deputy Mayor and his wife, Karen. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 04.06.18

In his acceptance speech, Mayor Boyle, who has been a councillor for seven years, said he would use his year in office to serve everyone in the community - “equally and openly.”

“My door will always be open and I will do my best to represent all the people of this area, to the best of my ability,” he told fellow councillors.

He also promised to serve all the people of the city and district “with integrity and honesty, regardless of their religion, class, colour, sexual orientation, gender or political affiliation.”

The new Mayor added that high on his agenda would be support for those in need - particularly those suffering from poverty, illness, disability, depression or abuse.

He also revealed that his Mayoral charity would be Foyle Search and Rescue.

“I believe that currently the work of Foyle Search and Rescue is the very epitome of the word selfless,” he added. “Their dedication and sense of citizenship is an example to us all. I can think of no better way to recognise their commitment than to join them in partnership in the forthcoming year.”

Outlining some of his Mayoral initiatives, Mayor Boyle said he would like to work towards developing a better understanding between communities and also reviving the city centre.

He added that securing a City Deal for the council area would be top of his agenda this year.

“A City Deal really can be a significant game changer for people here,” he said. “It will allow us to have a greater degree of fiscal autonomy and to concentrate resources where we will see them best realise our potential to grow as a city and region. It is long past time that we, as the North West regional capital, got our fair share.”

He identified the region’s transport infrastructure as “still not up to speed”, called for university student numbers to be expanded and urged support for the planned medical school at UU Magee.

He said he also intended to continue building international links and establishing strong business, trade, education and tourism links in the United States, China and Europe.

He added that he was also committed to working in close collaboration with Donegal County Council to build on existing relationships.