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Castlederg man new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Castlederg man new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council thumbnailNew Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Maoliosa McHugh, is congratulated on taking up the role by his predecessor, Alderman Hilary McClintock.

A CASTLEDERG councillor has become the first Tyrone-based Mayor on Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Sinn Féin's Maolíosa McHugh took on the Mayoral chain of office at council's annual general meeting on Monday night, succeeding the DUP's Hilary McClintock.

Serving as Deputy Mayor for the incoming year will be the SDLP's John Boyle. The positions are rotated yearly using the D'Hondt system.

The former teacher was nominated to the role by nephew and party colleague, Ruairi McHugh, who said it was a "great personal honour" to propose councillor McHugh.

The appointment of the new Mayor, a brother of the late SF councillor and former chair of Strabane District Council, Charlie McHugh, represents the first time a Strabane district-based councillor has taken up the position since the amalgamation of the former Derry City Council and Strabane District Council under the Review of Public Administration (RPA).

However, it's not the first time the Derg councillor has been in the 'hot seat'. He previously acted as presiding councillor during the 'shadow period' of the council as the two councils prepared to formally amalgamate.

Delivering his inaugural address as the district's First Citizen, Mr McHugh spoke of his immense pride in taking on the role and pledged to support all communities "promoting respect, inclusive politics and equaity".

"I have always regarded it a privilege to be an elected councillor and am eternally grateful to the people of Clady, the Glebe, Sion, Strabane town and the wider Derg ward who have given me that opportunity to work on their behalf as a councillor," he said.

"I am equally privileged and honoured to be chosen by my party colleagues to serve as their nominee for Mayor where I can continue this work for all in the Derry City and Strabane council area - all be it in a different context.

"It is a time of great political and social change both at local and central government level and it is a challenge for local government how these changes are managed. I look forward to meeting this challenge and helping to ensure our council deal effectively with it."

Mayor McHugh then extended his sincere thanks to the outgoing Mayor and her deputy for their service over the last year.

"Whilst chair of the shadow council I pledged to engage with all without exception. I now pledge as a Mayor for all, to be inclusive, providing civic leadership and support to all communities, from The Derg to Sperrin and from Tullywhisker to Tullyally. I will seek to promote respect, inclusive politics and equality," he continued.

The keen Irish language enthusiast says he hopes to use his position as chair to promote Irish, strengthen the existing links between the council and Donegal and create new opportunities.

'I believe the greatest challenge facing this region is Brexit and all of its implications. Already strong links have been forged with our neighbours in the Donegal council area and I will continue to encourage and support the development of these strong bonds as we work together to mitigate the impending negative effects of Brexit.

"As Mayor, I will do my utmost to promote and create new opportunities for everyone across this district and region. And to do that one needs to ensure that the proper structures are in place to attract that kind of investment which contributes to the wealth of the region and the prosperity of our people."

Mr McHugh has nominated AWARE as his chosen Mayoral charity for the incoming year. He continued: "I would like to thank my own family for the excellent support they have given me to allow me to carry out my responsibilities as a public representative. I know that will continue over the course of the next year and I thank them in advance for their unstinting support.

"As we move forward together into this year of what I know will bring challenges but also many opportunities - I am confident we will approach both with confidence in our ability to deliver the hopes and aspirations of those who have entrusted us to be their public representatives. In my year as Mayor I am ready for this challenge."

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