John Boyle moved by simplestencounters during year as Mayor

Outgoing Mayor, Colr. John Boyle, said meeting school children and hearing his late mother’s choir sing at the October 1968 commemorations in the Guildhall were highlights of his year in office.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 5:14 pm

It was the simplest encounters that left impressions, he observed, in his last speech as Mayor at the AGM on Monday.

He was speaking prior to bestowing the chains to Michaela Boyle and ensuring, for the first time since Sir John Vaughan succeeded his brother Capt. Henry Vaughan in the 1620s, that consecutive mayors of Derry will share the same surname.

He quipped: “Michaela and I are not related in any shape form or fashion so there is no nepotism at work in this chamber here this evening.”

He went on to share a number of fond memories of his year as ‘first citizen’.

“One of the simplest things was meeting a young P2 pupil at Ebrington P.S. who took pride in spelling her name for me. She explained that her name had a silent ‘haitch’ in it, or a silent ‘aitch’ depending on how you want to put it!” joked the Mayor.

“It was genuinely my honour to meet ‘Honor’ with a silent ‘H’ and it was, of course my honour to meet her schoolfriends. I was hoping for a great future for them and for the children from the Holy Child P.S. in Creggan who were with them that day and hoping that they would remain forever friends,” he said.

Another moving occasion for the SDLP councillor, he declared, was hosting President Michael D. Higgins at the 1968 commemorations in the Guildhall, a major civic and national event that was also poignant on an individual level.

“I will never forget the very personal and moving moment when the choir my late mother Cecilia sang in, the Colmcille Ladies Choir, sang on the stage just behind us here to a packed audience that afternoon.

“I was heartbroken that my mother wasn’t there but I was absolutely assured she would have loved it because those who were in the choir with her, were there that day and it was a particular pleasure to see them all.”

Before standing down as Mayor, Colr. Boyle called a minute’s silence for the late Lyra McKee, who was shot dead in Creggan last month.

“Lyra spoke, and sometimes out of the mouths of babes comes great wisdom, she spoke and I hope people listened to Lyra McKee.

“She was one of the Good Friday generation...and she was cruelly cut down in the prime of her life on our city streets. I think we all owe it to Lyra and Lyra’s family to redouble our efforts to secure a harmonious future where such brutality and such senseless loss is left well and truly in the past.”