'Maasai woman and Derry Girl' Lilian Barr becomes new Mayor of Derry & Strabane

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Derry City and Strabane District Council have appointed 'Maasai woman and Derry Girl' Lilian Barr as Mayor.

The SDLP representative took over the position from Councillor Patricia Logue at an Annual General Meeting on Monday, June 3.

UUP Alderman Darren Guy was also appointed as Deputy Mayor replacing Independent Councillor Jason Barr.

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Mayor Barr said she came to Derry from Kenya in 2010, 'in search of safety and a better life'.

The new Mayor of Derry & Strabane Lilian Barr with her husband Patrick and SDLP party colleagues.The new Mayor of Derry & Strabane Lilian Barr with her husband Patrick and SDLP party colleagues.
The new Mayor of Derry & Strabane Lilian Barr with her husband Patrick and SDLP party colleagues.

She thanked former Mayor Logue for her service and her party for their 'unwavering support'.

Mayor Barr added: “In particular I want to acknowledge my husband Paul, without whom I would never have been able to accept this role. Paul has been an absolute rock in my life.

“If you had told me [in 2010] that I would be seated here today as the Mayor of the North’s second city, I don’t think I or anybody in my family would have believed you.

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“Since I arrived, Derry has embraced me. It has granted me a family, a community, and now, the honour to serve as your First Citizen.

“Of course, there are some in recent weeks who have seen this history-making moment as a threat and it is no secret that it has provoked anti-immigrant sentiments and intense abuse.

“That has been a reminder of the issues we face as a community, but I know that those sentiments find no home in Derry and they were not reflected by most people in our city and district.

“My appointment is a sign of the celebration of difference, of a changing NI where the binaries of the past are breaking down.

“I will be a mayor for everyone.”

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Deputy Mayor Guy congratulated Mayor Barr and said she would perform her duties 'to the best of her abilities in her own vibrant way'.

Deputy Mayor Guy used his speech to thank his 'Ulster Unionist colleagues for selecting me for the role'.

“It would be remiss of me not to mention that I follow in my father’s footsteps, who himself was Deputy Mayor three times," he added.

“I think this could be the first time there has been a father and son to hold the office of Deputy Mayor. This makes me extremely proud, as I know it is for my mother and my sisters.”

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