‘Thanks for all the memories Belfast’
Councillors from across all political divides praised Alliance Councillor Naomi Long as she carried out her final duty of ‘handing over baton’ as the city’s lord mayor to SDLP councillor Pat Convery.
On Tuesday evening, June 1, in the Belfast City Council chamber, councillors took turns at commending Mrs Long on her successful year as first citizen — many commenting that Pat Convery ‘had a tough act to follow.’
Councillor Long thanked all those who had helped her throughout the year and said: “It has been both a privilege and a pleasure for me to serve the people of this wonderful city in this special way over the past year, and to have the chance to showcase the positive changes which are happening in Belfast.
“I adopted ‘Belfast without barriers’ as my theme throughout the last year.
“I want to see a city in which everyone is respected and celebrated and there are no barriers placed in people's way as they go about making their contribution to shaping this city for the future.
“But I also want to see Belfast as a city which has no limits to the aspirations and dreams it has for its future and its people.
“As I have gone around the city, I have been overwhelmed by the projects and initiatives, and most of all the people, that proved beyond doubt that our city is developing as a welcoming, open and shared space to be enjoyed by all.
“It was a genuine delight to meet with people from every part of this city, people who reflect the amazing diversity of life in Belfast in 2010 and people who are doing fantastic work right across our community to ensure a better quality of life for all.”
The new East Belfast MP also thanked her husband, Castlereagh councillor Michael Long. “He is the first man to be married to the lord mayor — he had to put up with a lot of people thinking he was my security guard!”
The new mayor Councillor Pat Convery (54), was nominated by his SDLP colleagues Pat McCarthy and Bernie Kelly.
A former deputy mayor, he has represented the Castle area of north Belfast since 2001 and has a background in the hospitality and retail trade.
Taking his seat as new lord mayor, he said: “It is with great pride that I accept the position of lord mayor of Belfast.
“I want to focus on how we can continue to make progress in making Belfast a fantastic city to invest in, to work in, to visit and to live in.”
Deputy mayor is DUP Councillor William Humphrey, who represents the Court area.