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Deal claims as SF man is new mayor


New mayor: Tom Hartley

New mayor: Tom Hartley

New mayor: Tom Hartley

Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley and UUP's David Browne have been elected Belfast's new lord and deputy Lord Mayor, amid accusations from the DUP of a deal having been done.

Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley was voted the second member of the party to become the city's first citizen, while Ulster Unionist David Browne was elected deputy lord mayor.

Mr Hartley, a councillor for west Belfast, was nominated by his party while Shankill councillor Diane Dodds was put forward by the DUP.

However, Mr Hartley received 25 votes from the Chamber while Mrs Dodds received 23.

During the voting for Lord Mayor, Mr Browne issued a no vote for either candidate while two other councillors, the SDLP's Pat McCarthy and the UUP's Sir Reg Empey weren't present.

During the election of Deputy Lord Mayor Mr Browne, who was nominated by fellow UUP councillor Bob Stoker, attracted support from Sinn Fein and Ulster Unionist benches.

He beat the Alliance's Marie Hendron by 38 votes to 11.

Speaking after the election, the DUP's Nigel Dodds hit out at the lack of support from Mr Browne for fellow Unionist candidates.

"It was very noticeable that the leader of the Ulster Unionist group, David Browne, failed to back the Unionist candidates and in return he got the Sinn Fein vote for Deputy Lord Mayor," he said.

"I think it was appalling, there was obviously some sort of deal done.

"However, we did support Mr Browne as the Ulster Unionist candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor."

After receiving his mayoral chains from outgoing Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers, Mr Hartley said he is actively seeking to ensure that the disadvantaged, underprivileged and the marginalised are made to feel part of the city during his year in office:

"Our city is on the cusp of major change. We face many new challenges as we strive to build a prosperous and vibrant Belfast," he said.

"This requires the contribution of all the citizens of Belfast."

Councillor Hartley pledged to operate an open door for all citizens of Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph