Limavady councillors have paid tribute to the borough’s Mayor, Michael Carten, who is to retire from local politics.
The 81-year-old SDLP councillor is not running in the May 5th elections, opting to retire after a 14-year career on Limavady Borough Council. In becoming mayor last June, he made history as the oldest mayor to take the chain in the north alongside Derry SDLP councillor Colum Eastwood who became the youngest mayor in the north at the age of 28.
Chairing his last meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor Carten heard a number of tributes from all parties.
UUC Colr. Leslie Cubitt described Councillor Carten’s year as mayor as “excellent”.
“You’re the best mayor here and you have been an example to everyone. Nothing has been too much trouble for you. Your wee jokes go down a long way and I wish you a long and happy retirement.”
Fellow UUC man, Boyd Douglas – deputy mayor – said: “It has been a pleasure to work with you. You’re young and healthy yet and it has been nice to work with you. You made it easy for me as you did so much. I wish you well too.”
Sinn Fein Colr. Anne Brolly said Mayor Carten had never allowed his politics to interfere in his regard for those he met.
‘You’ve been a gentleman,” she said.
Fellow SDLP man, Alderman Michael Coyle said on behalf of himself and SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan, “Thank you for the way you have carried out your duties inside and out of the chamber.”
DUP Alderman, George Robinson said: “You’ve been a terrific mayor. You didn’t involve yourself in politics. You’re a terrific example for this council.”
UU Colr. Jack Rankin added his tribute saying: “You’re a gentleman, no doubt about it. You are well respected within the Ulster Unionist party and my family. All the very best to you.”
Clearly touched by the comments, Mayor Carten said someone said to him recently he would be glad his year as mayor and time in council is almost over.
“To tell you the truth I’ll not be glad. I have had 14 great years here. I have enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I wish all the outgoing members the best of luck and good health and I wish all the candidates the best. I wish you all good health.”