Belfast Telegraph

Nuala McAllister hits back at 'men in grey suits' at Belfast City Council after being labelled 'one of the worst lord mayors ever'

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 01st June 2017 - Photo by William Cherry
Former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 01st June 2017 - Photo by William Cherry
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Nuala McAllister has hit back at “men in grey suits” on Belfast City Council after one her colleagues labelled her “one of the worst lord mayors ever”.

The Alliance councillor, whose term as Lord Mayor ended earlier this month, was slammed by unionists for being too “political” during her time in office.

UUP Alderman Jim Rodgers, himself a former Lord Mayor, told the Newsletter that Ms McAllister “should have put her office ahead of her politics”.

“The Lord Mayor is a civic leader and they are there to represent the whole community of Belfast. Sadly Nuala McAllister was one of the most political Lord Mayors that I’ve ever come across, which is disappointing.”

UUP Alderman Jim Rodgers

Ms McAllister was criticised when she did not read from the Bible at the beginning of council meetings. She also campaigned for reforms to legislation on abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland during her time in office.

Last week Ms McAllister made a public apology for distributing a 2016 campaign leaflet under the headline "What have they got to hid?", which opposition councillors said accused them of corruption and an ombudsman investigation followed.

Cllr Rodgers said Ms McAllister had "courted controversy".

DUP councillor Lee Reynolds also weighed into the debate.

He said: “Everyone elected to the position of Lord Mayor has their own political beliefs and causes they believe passionately in.

“However, the expectation and practice was to set those aside as much as possible to fulfil their civic duty to every citizen of the city.

“In the past Alliance roundly condemned a unionist Lord Mayor for acting politically when he refused to wear the chain of office to meet the Lord Mayor of Dublin in Belfast City Hall.

"He justified his actions on his political beliefs and they did not accept that as justification. This makes their new stance hypocritical.”

Love Equality campaigners and Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister demonstrate outside Belfast City Hall

Ms McAllister, taking to social media to respond to Cllr Rodgers’ comments, said: “It would appear that men in grey suits in council don’t like me having my own opinions but I won’t stop standing up for what I believe in.

“I make no apologies for wanting Belfast to be a more inclusive society, leadership is required to correct treatment of marginalised in NI."

Naomi Long MLA, Alliance Party leader, defended Ms McAllister and referred to an incident involving Cllr Rodgers during his time as mayor, when a Belfast City Council worker was injured when he attempted to leapfrog her.

Posting on social media she said: "Jim Rodgers says Nuala McAllister was 'the worst Lord Mayor ever'. He said I was too. The only thing of note he did as LM was injure a BCC staff member, costing rate payers a fortune, when attempting to leapfrog her in a publicity student. She was dressed as a tomato at the time."

Belfast Lord Mayor, Jim Rodgers, attempting to jump over a Belfast City Council employee Lorraine Mallon. 2007

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph