Delight for UUP as party holds five of Province’s top council posts

UUP Councillor Lindsay Millar (left), the newly elected Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, with Deputy Mayor, DUP Councillor Cheryl Johnston. Pic by Paul Faith
UUP Councillor Lindsay Millar (left), the newly elected Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, with Deputy Mayor, DUP Councillor Cheryl Johnston. Pic by Paul Faith

Ulster Unionist Party representatives have taken the top elected posts in five of Northern Ireland’s 11 local councils for 2018/19.

With 10 local authorities having held their AGMs this week, UUP councillors have been appointed first citizen of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Fermanagh and Omagh, Ards and North Down, and Mid and East Antrim councils.

Newly elected Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Richard Smart (centre) with Deputy Mayor, Councillor Eddie Thompson (left) and council chief executive Stephen Reid. Pic by Gary McCormick

Newly elected Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Richard Smart (centre) with Deputy Mayor, Councillor Eddie Thompson (left) and council chief executive Stephen Reid. Pic by Gary McCormick

Sinn Fein now holds mayor/chair positions in three council areas - Belfast, Causeway Coast and Glens, and Mid Ulster, while the SDLP took the same roles in Derry City and Strabane, and Newry, Mourne and Down.

No DUP representatives have yet been elected to mayor/chair posts for 2018/19, but the party’s councillor Uel Mackin is expected to be nominated for the role of mayor at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s AGM tomorrow.

It’s thought Alliance Party councillor Amanda Grehen will be put forward for the role of deputy mayor.

The latest local authority to hold its annual general meeting was Ards and North Down.

Members gathered in the Town Hall, Bangor yesterday morning, where Newtownards UUP councillor Richard Smart was elected mayor and the DUP councillor Eddie Thompson elected as deputy.

Cllr Smart said he was “absolutely thrilled” with his appointment, and delighted that the party now holds so many of the top council posts across the Province.

“We will all have to work hard to do our respective boroughs and party proud,” the 32-year-old, who works for Strangford MLA Mike Nesbitt, said.

Councillor Paul Michael, the newly elected mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said the high profile positions now held by himself and his UUP colleagues put the party in a good position to make potential gains at the next local government election, scheduled to take place in May next year.

How they line up:

• Antrim and Newtownabbey: Mayor Paul Michael, UUP; Deputy Mayor John Smyth, DUP

• Ards and North Down: Mayor Richard Smart, UUP; Deputy Mayor Eddie Thompson, DUP

• Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon: Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty, UUP; Deputy Lord Mayor Paul Duffy, SF

• Belfast: Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey, SF; Deputy Lord Mayor Emmet McDonough-Brown, Alliance

• Causeway Coast & Glens: Mayor Brenda Chivers, SF; Deputy Mayor Trevor Clarke, DUP

• Derry City and Strabane: Mayor John Boyle, SDLP; Deputy Mayor Derek Hussey, UUP

• Fermanagh and Omagh: Chair Howard Thornton, UUP; Vice Chair John Feely, SF

• Lisburn and Castlereagh: Mayor Uel Mackin, DUP; Deputy Mayor Amanda Grehen, Alliance (both nominees, due to be confirmed at AGM on Friday, June 8)

• Mid and East Antrim: Mayor Lindsay Millar, UUP; Deputy Mayor Cheryl Johnston, DUP

• Mid Ulster: Chair Sean McPeake, SF; Deputy Chair Frances Burton, DUP

• Newry, Mourne and Down: Chair Mark Murnin, SDLP; Vice Chair Oksana McMahon, SF.