Alliance’s Kate Nicholl to become next lord mayor of Belfast
Alliance Party councillor Kate Nicholl, who was born Africa, is to become the next lord mayor of Belfast.
She is the first person in recent times to hold the position who was not born in the UK or Ireland.
Ms Nicholl, 33, grew up in Zimbabwe, to a South African mother and a Northern Irish father, but when violence broke out in 2000, her family left the country and moved to Belfast
She will succeed the DUP’s Frank McCoubrey in the top position at the start of June.
She said: “Belfast is my home, it’s your home, it’s our home. It’s vibrant, welcoming, multicultural and a city which belongs to us all, regardless of background or our individual circumstances.
“I’m proud to share this amazing city and I want others to feel the same.”
Ms Nicholl went to Methodist College in Belfast and developed an interest in politics and worked as a researcher for former Alliance Party MLA Anna Lo.
She said: “Our Belfast is about showcasing the fantastic work ongoing in our communities, to highlight and celebrate the positives our city offers as we emerge into the unknown of a post-Covid world.
“It has been a tough time for many, but we have an opportunity to make things better.
“To build back a strong economy, focus on building strong, inclusive community relationships and create a sense of pride in our city.
“Yes, we still have divisions, but my year will promote how the city – all of it – is ours, how together we can take this chance for change, have ownership and responsibility for it – if it has been your home all your life or if it is the city you have chosen to call home.”
Ms Nicholl, who works in marketing, is married and has a one-year-old son, Cian.