First openly gay deputy lord mayor for Belfast to be elected

Mary Ellen Campbell will be elected deputy lord mayor on Wednesday
Mary Ellen Campbell will be elected deputy lord mayor on Wednesday

A councillor from north Belfast is set to become the first openly gay deputy lord mayor of Belfast.

Mary Ellen Campbell of Sinn Fein has been nominated by her party to work alongside the new lord mayor – Brian Kingston of the DUP.

The former republican prison described her election to the post as “a significant step towards equality”.

Cllr Campbell said: “Visibility will be my theme for the year and visibility in elected office is vital to promote positive messages and demonstrate public commitment to equality.

“I am a woman. I am openly gay. I am a republican ex-political prisoner and I am from a working class community.

“I experience the challenges that many marginalised citizens face in Belfast.”

The 47-year-old will be officially confirmed in the post at the city council’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

She added: “I intend in my year in office to highlight and put a focus on the rights and needs of the gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“In this centenary year of the 1916 Rising it is important that we affirm its democratic, equal and inclusive commitments.

“My election as an openly gay deputy mayor is a very good modern example of these commitments.”