Belfast Telegraph

Derry's Sinn Fein mayor criticised as he hands over to the SDLP

By Peter Hutcheon

Outgoing Derry City and Strabane District Council first citizen Maoliosa McHugh has been accused of letting down the unionist community during his year in office.

He was replaced as mayor by the SDLP's John Boyle at last night's annual general meeting at the Guildhall in Londonderry.

Unionist councillors noted that the Sinn Fein mayor had failed to meet Prince Charles, turned down an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and worn his mayoral chain of office to visit republican prisoner Tony Taylor.

The new deputy mayor, Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey, said: "In your incoming speech last year you pledged to engage with everyone without exception.

"When the invitation to the palace came through you did not pass it on so that someone else could go. You denied us that chance and I deeply regret having to make these remarks."

Independent unionist councillor Maurice Devenney said he was "deeply disappointed" at Mr McHugh.

"When Prince Charles visited the victims of the floods in Eglinton you did not just snub the unionist community, you snubbed your own community.

"The new mayor has a huge job to do building back up that community relationship."

New mayor Mr Boyle said he pledged to serve everyone in the community equally and openly.

"My door will always be open and I will do my best to represent all the people of this area," he said.

"The future of this city must be a welcoming one where identity and culture are respected and cherished no matter where someone comes from, what colour their skin is, whether they have a disability or not."

Belfast Telegraph

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