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Council Mayor vows to 'resolutely defend' his position in face of DUP motion

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Council Mayor vows to 'resolutely defend' his position in face of DUP motion thumbnailFormer DUP Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC), Alderman Hilary McClintock, congratulates Sinn Fein’s Maoliosa McHugh on his election as new Mayor back in June.

MAYOR of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Maolíosa McHugh, says he will "resolutely defend" his position in the face of a DUP motion against him at tomorrow's (Thursday) council meeting.

Mayor McHugh, who became the district's First Citizen in June this year, is facing claims from his Unionist opponents on council of politicising the role of Mayor.

 At tomorrow's full monthly meeting of the local authority, former Mayor and DUP councillor, Alderman Hilary McClintock, is set to move a motion against her successor.

 Her motion states: "That this council re-iterates the civic responsibility of the holder of the office of Mayor to represent all; recognises that this has been severely compromised by the ongoing politicisation of the role by Mayor McHugh, wearing the chain-of-office on several occasions whilst promoting his own party politics to the detriment of good relations.

 "Therefore, this council calls on Mayor McHugh to apologise for his actions and commit to carry out his duties in an inclusive manner and represent all the citizens of the council area for the remainder of his term."

 Speaking yesterday (Tuesday), Mayor McHugh, elected to represent the Derg Electoral Area on council, told the Strabane Weekly News that he refutes the assertions of the motion.

 "I totally reject the assertions of this motion," he said. "In my outreach work as Mayor I have tried to be as inclusive as possible.

 "I will resolutely defend my position at Thursday's meeting of council."

 The tabling of the motion follows recent criticism by Alderman McClintock of Mr McHugh after he wore his mayoral chain-of-office during a visit to Maghaberry Prison as part of a Sinn Fein delegation to jailed republican, Tony Taylor.

 He was jailed for over 18 years in 1994 over a bombing but was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

  The former IRA man had his licence revoked in March of last year and he was sent back to jail.

  Sinn Fein, alongside others, have called for his release stating that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.

  Earlier this year, the council also passed a motion supporting calls for Mr Taylor's immediate release.

  Alderman McClintock said the prison visit had "deeply hurt" the unionist community and called into question the Mayor's neutrality and vow to represent all the citizens of the district.

 Defending himself against those claims, the Mayor had said that the council's support for the release of Mr Taylor justified his decision to wear the mayoral chain.

 "I wore the mayoral chain when we had left the prison to emphasise the point that, as Mayor, I am representing one of our citizens who has been denided his human basic rights."

 The DUP motion will be debated at tomorrow's monthly meeting of council in the Guildhall which begins at 4pm.

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