David Drysdale elected as penultimate Mayor of Castlereagh

Outgoing Castlereagh Mayor Michael Henderson with new Mayor David Drysdale
Outgoing Castlereagh Mayor Michael Henderson with new Mayor David Drysdale

DUP councillor David Drysdale has been elected as the new Mayor of Castlereagh.

Mr Drysdale’s DUP colleague Ann-Marie Beattie was elected to serve as deputy Mayor.

The pair will be the penultimate to serve Castlereagh ahead of the reform of local government in 2015.

Mr Drysdale has served as councillor for 12 years initially for the UUP but he left and joined the DUP in 2010. He takes over the position of Mayor from Ulster Unionist councillor Michael Henderson MBE.

Mr Drysdale said he feels “absolutely delighted and honoured” to be elected to serve as Mayor of Castlereagh.

“I have chosen ‘Fields of Life’ as my nominated charity and I very much look forward to working with them, raising their profile and fund raising on their behalf during my mayoral year,” he commented.

However the Alliance Party has criticised Unionists on the council for taking both of the top positions.

Councillor Geraldine Rice said: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Unionists in Castlereagh decided against power sharing, voting to ensure Alliance did not receive any top positions. Yet again the DUP took the Mayor, with 14 votes to nine, with the SDLP joining forces with Unionists against Councillor Sara Duncan, ensuring she lost the vote for Deputy Mayor by 16 votes to seven.

“Peter Robinson has spoken about the need to create a shared future on the world stage, yet when it comes down to his home Council, his Unionist colleagues are failing to support shared future strategies at a local level.”

Responding to these comments, DUP Group Leader on Castlereagh Borough Council Jimmy Spratt said: “Alliance have repeatedly shown that their primary interest in Castlereagh is to carp and criticise both the Council and its members without any shred of an attempt to work with other parties.

“The Mayor and Deputy Mayor tonight were elected with both unionist and SDLP support.

“Unionists were also happy to support the SDLP for position within the Council. Both the DUP and UUP groups have been able to forge a positive working relationship with the SDLP yet this remains impossible with Alliance. Far from a party of consensus, Alliance has proven to be a force solely of division within Castlereagh.

“With Alliance standing isolated from all of the main parties on Castlreregh Council to then claim it was a sectarian carve-up is simply ludicrous.

“The self-pitying victimhood deployed by the Alliance Party is depressing not just because of the baseless nature of their claims, but because of the regularity with which they attempt to deploy this fiction.”