Youngest councillor accepts post
Belfast City Hall has unveiled its newest councillor - who is also its youngest.
Laura McNamee, 25, was selected to replace Naomi Long as the Alliance Party's representative in the Victoria ward in the east of the city.
The Queen's University graduate, who is a senior caseworker for her predecessor, will now take her seat in the chamber as the party's first MP focuses on her Westminster role.
She said: "It is a real privilege to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Victoria and it is a massive honour to be replacing Naomi Long as a councillor for the area. Naomi has a strong reputation for hard work for everyone and I want to continue this excellent record.
"In my role as caseworker I have much experience in dealing with issues such as housing, benefits, planning, general neighbourhood issues and road safety, and I look forward to delivering on these matters in my role as councillor too."
Living in Ballyhackamore, the new addition at the council counts travelling and music among her hobbies. She also volunteers with the Cedar Foundation for disabled people.
"Naomi as Lord Mayor helped build community relations and promote Belfast on the world stage, and I want to thank her for all her efforts down the years as a councillor," she added.
Mrs Long said it was the right time to move on.
She said: "It has been a real honour to serve the people of Victoria on Belfast City Council for the past nine years. However, with my responsibilities as an MP, the time is right to pass those responsibilities on to somebody else.
"I am delighted that someone as capable and committed to the people of East Belfast as Laura has been selected as my replacement. I know she will represent the people of Victoria in Belfast City Council with energy and enthusiasm and continue to deliver for them on the ground as she has done in her role as my senior case manager."