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SDLP takes top post on council

Thursday, 7 June 2018

SDLP takes top post on council thumbnail

DERRY City and Strabane District Council elected a new mayor on Monday night to represent the city and district for the incoming 2018-19 year. The SDLP's councillor John Boyle accepted the mayoral chain from his predecessor, Castlederg's Cllr Maolíosa McHugh at the council's annual meeting in the Guildhall.
The new mayor will be supported in his role by another Castlederg man, Ulster Unionist Alderman Derek Hussey, who takes up the position of deputy mayor.
Councillor John Boyle was first elected to the former Derry City Council in May 2011 and re-elected to represent the Foyleside District Electoral Area of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council in 2014. He has been a councillor for seven years and in that time has held a number of chairmanships, including as chairperson of the council's new Planning Committee in 2016-17. Councillor Boyle was also the Deputy Mayor of the city and district last year.
He has previously worked in media production, education and training of young people and adults. Originally from the Oakfield area of the city, Councillor Boyle graduated from the University of Ulster at Coleraine with an BA honours degree in history and was previously educated at Rosemount Primary School and St Joseph's Boys School.
As the outgoing mayor handed over the mayoral chain and reflected on his busy year in office, Cllr McHugh extended his thanks to the people of Derry and Strabane for their friendship and hospitality over the past year and extended his best wishes and good luck to the new incoming mayor.
Newly elected mayor, Cllr Boyle, said he was deeply honoured at being chosen as mayor and promised to serve all the people of the city and district "with integrity and honesty, regardless of their religion, class, colour, sexual orientation, gender or political affiliation."
Key objectives
Among the key objectives he set out for his year ahead, was the commitment to work with elected members, council officials and partners to progress with the delivery of the Local Development Plan and Strategic Growth Plan.
Mayor Boyle said securing a City Deal for the council area will be top of his agenda this year. He commented: "It is my intention to continue to work towards achieving a City Deal for our council area. A City Deal really can be a significant game changer for people here. Allowing us to have a greater degree of fiscal autonomy and to concentrate resources where we will see them best realise our potential to grow as a city and region. It is long past time that we as the north-west regional capital got our fair share. Our transport infrastructure is still not up to speed and the deficit in this area must be further addressed over the coming year. Our university must be assisted in realising our ambition to see student numbers expanded with more educational courses on offer. Key to this is the further development of the proposed medical school of Ulster University and I welcome the opportunity to hear their plans in the coming days."
He said he also intended to build on the work done to date to build international links and establish strong business, trade, education and tourism links in the United States, China and Europe. The expansion of the University at Magee and advancement of the medical school as well as the further development of the City of Derry Airport were also outlined as key projects that the mayor will be focusing on during his year in office.
Cllr Boyle added he was committed to working in close collaboration with Donegal County Council to build on the existing relationship in the north-west region and to continue with the excellent work being done to engage with those involved in tourism, culture, heritage and sports to ensure that the region's strengths are showcased in the best possible way to assist in the regeneration of the city and district.
Announcing details of his mayoral charity, Cllr Boyle said he was delighted to join with Foyle Search and Rescue in a partnership for the forthcoming year. "I believe that currently the work of Foyle Search and Rescue is the very epitome of the word selfless. Their dedication and sense of citizenship is an example to us all. I can think of no better way to recognise them."
Initiatives
Outlining details of his mayoral initiatives, the new Mayor said the initiatives will be focused on working towards a better understanding between communities and also reviving the city centre by looking at new and imaginative ways to develop the city centre into a place where people shop and socialise in, in a safe environment.
He added that high on his agenda was to provide support and assistance to those in most need in the community.
As mayor, he said, he aimed to serve everyone in the community equally and openly.
"My door will always be open, and I will do my best to represent all the people of this area, to the best of my ability," he said.

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