Belfast Telegraph

The new sheriff in Belfast is DUP councillor Gareth McKee

By Rebecca Black

DUP councillor Gareth McKee is set to be nominated as the next High Sheriff of Belfast.

Belfast City Council voted last night to put forward Mr McKee's name to the Secretary of State as its nominee for 2015.

Alliance councillor Tom Ekin proposed his colleague Laura McNamee for the post, however following a vote, Mr McKee was selected.

Mr Ekin said he felt it was a pity that the post of High Sheriff is "dominated by one side", referring to the fact that nationalist and republicans councillors in Belfast refuse to take on the role.

The High Sheriff is historically the judicial representative of the Queen in the city, while the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast is the Sovereign's personal representative.

But today the office tends to be more of a symbolic role, although the High Sheriff works with the Lord Mayor's office and deputises when required.

Mr McKee is set to take over from DUP councillor Lydia Patterson in January.

Ms Patterson will continue as High Sheriff until the end of the year.

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