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Lord Mayor and Church leaders look towards 2017

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Lord Mayor of Belfast, Brian Kingston pictured with Barra Best at the Ulster Tatler awards in Belfast City Hall.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Brian Kingston pictured with Barra Best at the Ulster Tatler awards in Belfast City Hall.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Brian Kingston pictured with Barra Best at the Ulster Tatler awards in Belfast City Hall.

Belfast's first citizen and the leaders of the main Churches have issued New Year messages after what was a turbulent 12 months of political upheaval.

Lord Mayor Brian Kingston said: "I am very proud of our great city and the great strides that have been made in 2016 to promote the inclusive growth of our economy.

"I will continue to do all I can to advance our international connections, attract international events and to support all those who make Belfast a caring and compassionate city."

Meanwhile, in a joint message the Church leaders reflected on a year marked by two major centenaries - the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme - and the impact of Brexit.

"In 2016 we remembered the events of 1916 that shaped the relationships and the future of these islands," said the statement from Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke; Roman Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin; President of the Irish Council of Churches the Rt Rev John McDowell; Presbyterian Moderator the Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar, and Methodist President the Rev Bill Mullally.

"A century on, new events of a different kind have the potential to alter political and economic relationships here as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

"It is our united prayer that our political leaders in Belfast, Dublin and London will have wisdom, grace and patience during this process, that will have implications for the whole of Ireland."

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