The new mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens has promised to be ‘First Citizen for all the people of the borough.”
Portstewart SDLP councillor, Maura Hickey, was voted in as mayor on Monday evening and follows in the footsteps of the DUP’s Michelle Knight McQuillan as ‘First Lady’ of the Council.
Councillor Hickey thanked all those who had voted for her party at the last local government elections.
She said: “By voting for SDLP you elected six councillors to our new council. This has given the SDLP the mandate through the D’Hondt system, to have the first nationalist Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
“I come from a nationalist background but I want to assure all of you that I shall be the ‘First Citizen’ for all the people of this borough.”
Speaking of her aims in office, mayor Hickey, who was first elected to Council in 2005, added: “I shall endeavour during my term of office to promote all businesses, from farming to manufacturing, technology to retail.
“I am very aware of the importance of the creative, cultural and social lives of our citizens and I shall support all our communities in their diversity.
“I intend to promote the borough as a place of excellence in which to live, to work, to do business in and I shall do all I can to promote this most wonderful of tourist destinations, which is second to none in the entire island of Ireland.
“I sincerely hope and pray that I shall be able to carry out my civic duties to the best of my ability in the year ahead.
“My hopes and aspirations are that we, the SDLP councillors, can continue to be instruments of peace, healing and encouragement throughout the borough.”
Mayor Hickey said it was time her Council colleagues moved away from divisive politics - for the good of the borough.
“At times in the past year there has been division and despair which has overshadowed much of the unseen hard work done by councillors, the Chief Executive, Directors, Senior Management Team and other staff in this excellent organisation.
“Going forward, I want to acknowledge and promote the many achievements that this new council has already accomplished and I look forward to highlighting many more in the year to come.
“I want everyone in the borough to feel that this council is working for their greater good, but to do that I need the co-operation of all councillors.
“I hope to work with all our MLA’s and Ministers to see how we can better improve wealth, prosperity and good relations in the borough rather than working individually in our own political silos.
“I put the challenge up to us all, to see what we can achieve collectively.”
“During my term of office I shall support and encourage charitable appeals as appropriate,” she explains.
“It gives me great pleasure to nominate Autism Northern Ireland and the Children’s Hospice as the mayor’s charities, which I and my colleagues in SDLP, Roisin, Orla, Stephanie, Margaret-Anne and John Deighan our new councillor for Limavady, who has joined TEAM SDLP have agreed. “
The mayor also expressed thanks to all those who had supported her: “I wish to take this opportunity to thank my above mentioned colleagues for entrusting me to carry out this privileged and important position on behalf of the whole council.
“Finally my hope is that all of our councillors genuinely commit to the care and concern for all our communities and that we all work together irrespective of party politics for the greater good of all citizens within the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.”
During her council terms Maura has served as Deputy Mayor on two occasions. She has chaired both the District Policing Partnership and the Policing Community Safety Partnership. She is a member of the steering group for the Regeneration of Portrush and was a member of the Revitalise Programme for Portrush.