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Pic of the week: History making mayor waves farewell

By Maureen Coleman

With an ever-present smile on her face, a windswept Nichola Mallon waves goodbye to well- wishers outside Belfast's City Hall as she bows out of her role as Lord Mayor.

The 35-year-old SDLP councillor made history last year when she became the first female nationalist politician to hold the position.

Ms Mallon, who is expecting her first child this year, won cross-party praise from her colleagues on Belfast City Council for her hard work, popularity and dignified manner during her 10-month stint as Lord Mayor.

Her departure comes at a historic time for Belfast City Council as it is transferring to a larger body with more powers, including responsibility for planning decisions.

Among her final engagements as First Citizen, Ms Mallon hosted a reception in the City Hall for GAA handball world champion Aisling Reilly before handing over her chains.

The north Belfast woman became known as a Lord Mayor who was always smiling and laughing, something which she attributes to the humour of the city's people.

At the final council meeting before then transferral of powers Ms Mallon told the chamber she smiled every day during her time in office.

"As a Belfast girl, born and bred, I have always been proud of our city," she said.

"Over the last 10 months that pride has deepened. As a city we have come a long way, and that is why I chose the theme 'Best of Belfast' for my year."

She also said the role had made her a more confident, happier person. "I would have been best described as a partial pessimist before, but since taking this role up I feel like an eternal optimist. I hope I can keep that up," she added.

Her former deputy, Allliance's Maire Hendron, paid tribute to Ms Mallon for carrying out her mayoral duties with "dignity and in an upright manner", and "enhancing the reputation of the city".

Belfast Telegraph


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