Belfast Telegraph

Convery hits the ground running as new Lord Mayor

Fresh into the new shoes of Belfast’s Lord Mayor, it has just been over a week now for Pat Convery, the north Belfast SDLP councillor to find his feet in his new ‘first citizen’ role.

Despite just taking on a hectic schedule, Councillor Convery found the time to speak with The Community Telegraph and give a deeper insight into his hopes and plans for his year ahead.

Lord Mayor Pat Convery said: “The first week has been very busy — but very enjoyable. Because of the changeover of Lord Mayor , many events had to be confirmed at short notice so I was really hitting the ground running.

“I will admit that it has been quite a learning curve for me but I can honestly say that meeting so many people who are helping to make a big difference to the life of our city is a real honour.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as Deputy Lord Mayor in 2005/06 and I feel it is a positive development that I have now progressed to the mayoral role. I know the people of north Belfast well and they seem to be genuinely pleased for me in my new role.

“As Lord Mayor I fully intend to use the year ahead to deliver a very positive message about moving Belfast forward. I will be delighted to be an ambassador for all that is so good about this wonderful city.

“It is my aim to focus on how we continue to make progress in making Belfast a fantastic city to invest in, work in, visit and — most importantly for me — to live in.

“Making our city safe, promoting first class healthcare and ensuring support for those in need are all priorities too. Tourism here continues to rise, despite the falling trends elsewhere, and I want to ensure we continue to drive it forward. I am committed to doing all that I can to support the development of tourism in the year ahead. I want to ‘work for Belfast’ and it is my intention to be involved in a range of projects promoting investment, and encouraging the private and public sector to join together to help us create a better city for all.”

There doesn’t appear to be any ill feeling from the new Lord Mayor about the fact that UUP Councillor Bob Stoker requested a recorded vote to decide who was to be Lord Mayor — even though Councillor Convery was the only candidate nominated. At the vote count Councillor Stoker and his party colleagues along with PUP representatives Hugh Smyth and John Kyle all abstained.

The Lord Mayor thought it was significant however that no-one had opposed his election. After the recorded vote members of the UUP congratulated him and some even said it was ‘nothing personal’.

When asked if he knew any reason for the UUP to abstain from voting he said: “This is something you would need to ask the UUP about — I cannot speak for them.”

In light of the electoral scenario he found himself in last week, we finally ask him, if he could set aside the electoral process and nominate anybody to be Lord Mayor of Belfast, who would it be?

He said: “Currently the Lord Mayor of Belfast is selected by their peers but if I had to personally nominate someone from outside the electoral process then I would probably opt for George Mitchell, the US senator and former Chancellor of Queen's University.”

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