Limavady’s new mayor, Cathal McLaughlin made history in the borough after being elected to the post at the age of 30, writes Sheena Jackson.
The keen GAA man is also the first Sinn Féin councillor from Magilligan to be appointed First Citizen.
“I’m chuffed to bits, just ecstatic and so privileged the party is putting their trust in me,” he told the ‘Journal’, after his appointment at Council’s AGM last Thursday. “I just want to get on with it now and make a difference.”
In a speech to councillors he hailed the occasion as “one of the greatest nights of my life.”
Paying tribute to outgoing Mayor and party colleague Sean McGlinchey, he said he would be a “hard act to follow.”
“He received countless invitations and attended so many functions from all sides of the community and reached out to everybody in this area. Sean, for that, I pass on my congratulations for all you have done in your year as Mayor.”
Mayor McLaughlin said his son Niall, aged 8, and “my family are here this evening and are so proud that I have been granted this honour. I would like to thank them for their help and support, not just in politics, but all through my life. Unfortunately, my father - David - isn’t here but I am sure he will be looking down on me with a great big smile this evening.”
“Some of my friends and colleagues are also here, so thanks for coming to help me celebrate one of the greatest nights of my life. I would like to thank the Gleann na Rua team for their help throughout the election campaign that got me elected as a councillor last year.
“I would also like to thank the people of the Bellarena ward, who not only got me elected but have stood by me through my first year of council, so this is an honour for them also and I will give my guarantee to them, as well as the rest of the Borough that I will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf.
“I intend to represent this Borough as Mayor to the best of my ability and I promise I will attend as many engagements as possible and would encourage everybody from any organisation or community group to make a request for my attendance.
“I would like to finish by again thanking my party for giving me this chance of creating history by being the youngest Mayor ever in Limavady, for being the first ever Sinn Féin Mayor from Magilligan and being the first ever St. Aidan’s Magilligan Gaelic team player to hold the chains of office.
“Last Monday we welcomed the Olympic flame to Magilligan, tonight we will welcome the Mayor’s chains to Magilligan.”