Belfast Telegraph

Together we’ll ensure our city achieves its potential

Belfast’s new Lord Mayor Pat Convery reveals his hopes, and his plans, for the year ahead

Looking forward to the next 12 months as Lord Mayor, I have taken 'Working for Belfast' as the theme for my term in office. I pledge to do just that - and to encourage others to do so, too.

Making our city safe, promoting first-class healthcare and ensuring support for those in need are all priorities.

By working together, it is my belief that we can help create a better city for all.

Throughout the year ahead I aim to focus on attracting investment to Belfast, to support tourism and improve the quality of life for our citizens.

I believe the greatest asset our city has is our people.

They are brave, resilient, enterprising, committed and caring.

Our tourism continues to be a growth industry, in spite of falling trends elsewhere.

Visitors frequently commend us for being a warm and friendly city to visit.

Belfast is now recognized as a place where our history and future blend well and we look forward to exciting times ahead with the centenary of Titanic in 2012, and the 400th anniversary of the city charter in 2013.

Tourism will continue to be a major boost to our economy.

It creates jobs and ensures investment, so I will do all that I can to support the development of tourism in my year in office.

Belfast City Council has always shown leadership - just over 100 years ago we built the iconic City Hall and that changed the face of the city then.

Twelve years ago we built the Waterfront hall which was the catalyst for the Laganside development.

And now we are supporting the Titanic signature project in 2012 - which will be the showcase of the emergence of a new and dynamic part of Belfast.

Our refurbished City Hall is at the very centre of our civic pride. We welcome more than 100,000 people through our doors every year.

Since the reopening of this wonderful building in October 2009, those numbers are continuing to grow.

This is real proof that our citizens feel connected to the city's leadership and a vital part of what is happening here and the decisions that are being made.

Yes, it is with immense pride that I represent this city as Lord Mayor.

My aim is 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.

This will be a crucial year.

We have come a long way in the past few years, but we must ensure that progress isn't blunted by the impact of the economic downturn and Government cuts.

We will continue to listen to our ratepayers and we will play our part as a council in the development of Belfast.

Partnership working is the key to our success to date and I will continue the excellent progress made in improving how we work with other public sector bodies and the private sector in making Belfast a world-class city.

In spite of the difficult times we live in, we have seen major investment across the city in recent years and this has brought jobs and revitalised Belfast.

We will continue to work towards attracting further investment.

All of this, and everything I do, is about improving the lot of our citizens. I want to make this city safe for people to live in and visit.

I want to ensure I do all I can to promote first-class healthcare and ensure support for those in need from all backgrounds.

Put simply, I will be 'Working for Belfast' and encouraging us all to do that together across all communities and all sectors of this great city of ours.

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