Tributes to Brian Tierney as new Derry & Strabane Mayor and Deputy welcomed in
Tributes have been paid to the former Mayor of Derry City & Strabane Brian Tierney for the manner in which he conducted himself during his year in office.,
At the Council’s Annual General Meeting on Monday night, members from across the political spectrum spoke warmly of how he had represented all the people of the city and district and proved a great example while in office, despite the difficult circumstances due to COVID.
The SDLP Councillor had spoken at the meeting about his ‘mixed emotions’ following a Mayoral year like no other as he handed over the chain to his successor Alderman Graham Warke.
After reflecting on his busy but challenging year, elected Members from all parties paid tribute to the Ballyarnett Councillor in glowing terms.
SDLP colleague Martin Reilly thanked Colr. Tierney for the work he had carried out over a ‘difficult and challenging year’.
“Out and about the City and District as part of the ‘day in the life’ series was a great way to connect and see the work being done on behalf of the public we all serve by so many good staff in this Council,” he said.
Referring to events during the outgoing Mayor’s term saying Councillor Reilly continued: “Obviously the passing of John Hume last year was a particularly sad moment not just for the City and District but for the wider world and of course his party colleagues and Pat and the Hume family.
“Towards the end of your term the handing over of John’s three peace awards to display to the public was a lovely gesture by the Hume family and I’m sure that was a special moment for you as well.”
DUP Alderman Hilary McClintock thanked the outgoing Mayor for the work he had undertaken during ‘an extremely difficult year.’
“You have done everything possible to lead from the front,’ she added. “You didn’t get the easiest of years but you were a great face for the Council.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy added her party’s tribute saying: “You have led from the front and you have ensured the public health and the safety of our citizens was paramount and ensured those messages got out.
“You have been an excellent ambassador for the City and District so I do congratulate you on that.”
Sperrin Independent Councillor Raymond Barr described the Mayor as being ‘fair, courteous, approachable and very obliging’, carrying out his duties with ‘diligence’.
UUP Alderman Darren Guy spoke about ‘how well received’ the Mayor was by all communities before Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle added his tribute alongside Alliance Councillor Rachael Ferguson, Independent Councillors Sean Carr, Paul Gallagher and Gary Donnelly and PBP Councillor Shaun Harkin before Alderman Derek Hussey brought the tributes to a close by describing the Mayor’s term as a ‘brilliant year.’
Councillor Tierney extended his best wishes and good luck to the new incoming Mayor and Deputy Mayor saying he hoped the year ahead would be one of hope and positivity.
A number of elected representatives offered both DUP Ald. Graham Warke and Sinn Féin Colr. Christopher Jackson their congratulations with Alliance Councillor Rachael Ferguson saying: “I look forward to working with you over the next year to promote our City and District.”
Councillor Ferguson welcomed the news that the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust was Mayor Warke’s chosen charity: “It’s a fantastic charity that does some really amazing work.”
DUP Alderman Hilary McClintock wished Councillor Jackson well. “I’m sure the two of you will work well alongside and it’s great to see another Waterside man being Deputy Mayor,” she said.
Referring to the Mayor she said he would be ‘a wonderful ambassador for the City and District’ and that he is ‘most definitely a people person, always willing to break down barriers.’
Describing him as a ‘Mayor for all the people’, Alderman McClintock added: “He will be sensitive to the many diverse narratives within our City and District.”
SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly wished the newly elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor well for the 12 months ahead on behalf of the party, while UUP Alderman Darren Guy spoke of his hope that normality would return allowing the Mayor to enjoy some functions,. He also congratulated him on the chosen charity describing it as ‘very worthwhile’.
Alderman Guy also wished Councillor Jackson ‘the very best for the coming year’ in his role of Deputy Mayor.
Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle agreed with what Members had already said adding: “This will be a big opportunity for you to showcase the City and District over the next 12 months.”
Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher wrapped matters up saying: “I would like to congratulate you and Councillor Jackson on your election.
“Like Mayors before you, I am going to give you a hard time to press and represent my constituency of Strabane, so be prepared for it,” he laughed.
The Mayor, Alderman Warke thanked all Members for their kind words.
By Gillian Anderson
Local Democracy Reporter