Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein representatives hold top position on five Northern Ireland councils

Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.
Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Sinn Fein is heading up almost half of Northern Ireland's 11 super councils - holding the top positions in five of the local authorities.

Four of the post holders have only just been elected as councillors for the first time.

The DUP holds the top position in three councils; the UUP in two and the other held by the SDLP.

The last fortnight has seen the election of mayors and council chairs across Northern Ireland.

The most high-profile choice of mayor was newly-elected councillor John Finucane, the son of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane. Mr Finucane's deputy for the next 12 months will be Alliance councillor Peter McReynolds.

Another Sinn Fein council newcomer, Sean Bateson (26), is the youngest person heading up a Northern Ireland council for the next 12 months.

He was selected to be mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council with DUP councillor Sharon McKillop to serve as his deputy.

Fellow first-time Sinn Fein councillor Siobhan Currie has been appointed the new chairperson of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council with Diana Armstrong of the UUP named the new vice-chair.

In Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sinn Fein's Michaela Boyle, who gave up her seat as an MLA to contest the May 2 council vote, has become mayor. The SDLP's Cara Hunter, another newly-elected councillor, was chosen as deputy mayor.

History was also made in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council when SDLP councillor Mealla Campbell was elected lord mayor with the DUP's Margaret Tinsley selected as her deputy.

Councillor Campbell is the first SDLP elected representative to hold the senior civic role with two women now at the helm.

Meanwhile women remain in the top spots in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council where Ulster Unionist member Maureen Morrow has been named mayor and will be assisted in her role by her DUP deputy Beth Adger.

In contrast with Derry City and Strabane, it is Sinn Fein and SDLP men who take the top two roles in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

Sinn Fein veteran Charlie Casey was elected as chairperson and the SDLP's Terry Andrews as deputy chairperson.

In Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, John Smyth of the DUP will serve as mayor for the 2019/20 year and Anne Marie Logue of Sinn Fein, will be deputy mayor.

On Ards and North Down Borough Council, the DUP's Bill Keery is the new mayor while Alliance's Karen Douglas is his deputy.

SDLP councillor Martin Kearney has been elected as the new chair of Mid-Ulster District Council with his deputy named as the DUP's Clement Cuthbertson.

Lisburn and Castlereagh was the last council to elect its new mayor and deputy on Friday with the roles going to the DUP's Alan Givan and Johnny McCarthy of the SDLP respectively.

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