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Sinn Fein’s Hartley is new Belfast mayor


New mayor: Tom Hartley

New mayor: Tom Hartley

New mayor: Tom Hartley

A veteran Republican was last night elected Belfast's new Lord Mayor amid DUP accusations of a political deal.

Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley is the second republican to become the city's first citizen with Ulster Unionist David Browne elected deputy Lord Mayor.

Mr Hartley, a councillor for west Belfast, was nominated by his party while west Belfast councillor Diane Dodds was put forward by the DUP. Mr Hartley received 25 votes from the Chamber while Mrs Dodds received 23.

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

In the election of deputy Lord Mayor Mr Browne was nominated by fellow UUP councillor Bob Stoker and attracted support from Sinn Fein and Ulster Unionist benches. He beat the Alliance candidate Marie Hendron 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 UU group David Browne failed to back the unionist candidate and in return he got the Sinn Fein vote for Deputy Lord Mayor.

"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 chain from outgoing Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers, Mr Hartley said: "It will be my aim as Lord Mayor to help develop our city's political culture away from a legacy of division towards civic and cultural diversity — to turn what divides us into a diversity that enriches our city and the lives of our citizens."

Mr Hartley is the second Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast. Alex Maskey preceded him in 2002.

Belfast Telegraph

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