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DUP's Brian Kingston is Belfast's new Lord Mayor

Brian Kingston pledged to put citizens first as he was elected Belfast’s new Lord Mayor on Wednesday night.

The appointment makes him the first DUP Lord Mayor since Gavin Robinson in 2012.

Under the banner of ‘Putting citizens first’, the new mayor said his key themes for his term include boosting Belfast’s economy, progressing the city’s place on the global map and assisting those who help make the city a compassionate and caring one.

A former High Sheriff of the city, Councillor Kingston represents the Court electoral area. The 50-year-old lives in Ballysillan and has a background in community development work in north and west Belfast for over 20 years.

Married with three grown-up children, the DUP politician is a former pupil of Methodist College and was educated at the University of Manchester and Queen’s University Belfast. 

A member of Joanmount Methodist Church, his interests include running - being a member of Albertville Harriers and completing the Belfast Marathon this year.

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He said: "It is a great honour for me to be selected for the position of Lord Mayor of my home city. I am very proud to come from Belfast and, as a Councillor, I have taken huge pleasure in seeing the great strides forward that our city is making year on year.

"I will do my utmost during my term of office to promote the inclusive growth of our capital city’s economy, to advance our international connections, attract international events and to support all those who make Belfast a compassionate and caring city. I will dedicate myself to the role of representing all the people of our city in an important year which includes the solemn occasion of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

"I look forward immensely to the opportunities that this year will present."

Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell from Sinn Fein was appointed new Deputy Lord Mayor. Councillor Campbell represents the Castle ward of the city.

The north Belfast councillor said her tenure would be a "significant step forward for equality".

"Visibility will be my theme for the year, and visibility in elected office is vital to promote positive messages and demonstrate public commitment to equality," she added.

"I am a woman. I am openly gay. I am a republican ex-political prisoner and I am from a working-class community. I experience the challenges that many marginalised citizens face in Belfast.

"I intend in my year in office to highlight and put a focus on the rights and needs of the gay, bisexual and transgender community."

Belfast City Council decides who gets the job through the d'Hondt system, which is based on how many councillors each party has.

Belfast Telegraph