DUP councillor elected Mayor
THOSE expecting fireworks at last week’s Annual General Meeting of Antrim Council were left disappointed by a very sedate and straightforward election of a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
The gloves had been off prior to the meeting, with claims of a done deal between the DUP and UUP illiciting harsh criticism, but then with news that the UUP’s Adrian Watson had had the party whip removed over comments made about power sharing with Sinn Fein, it looked like things might not be so clear cut.
However, when it came to the actual election, both the DUP and UUP - Councillor Watson included - stayed pretty much to script and with a one-vote majority, a unionist mayor and deputy mayor was elected.
Alderman Sam Dunlop was first to propose DUP colleague Roy Thompson for Mayor, seconded by Trevor Clarke.
The SDLP’s Bobby Loughran put his colleague Thomas Burns’ name into the hat, seconded by Sinn Fein’s Annemarie Logue.
When it came to the voting, the DUP and UUP cosied up to elected Cllr. Roy Thompson as Mayor with a total of 10 votes - one more than the the nine votes for Cllr. Burns.
It was a similar scenario with Cllr. Roderick Swann (UUP) elected Deputy Mayor with a total of 10 votes, over the nine votes received by Sinn Fein’s Annemarie Logue.
Cllr. Thompson said he was “humbled” at being elected Mayor, adding that while he’d served on council previously from 1981 to 2005, and then from 2011 when he was re-elected to council, he had never held the top job.
“I will endeavour to represent the whole borough,” Cllr. Thompson said.
Similar comments were made by his Deputy, Cllr. Roderick Swann.
While some might have thought Sinn Fein would have been quick to hit out at the way the top jobs had been carved up, Cllr. Henry Cushinan was quick to congratulation Cllr. Swann on being elected to Deputy Mayor.
“I would like to congratulate him on being elected to the top table,” Cllr. Cushinan said.
He added: “He is very capable of fulfilling this position but there are others in this chamber who would be just as equally capable and should be equally entitled to do it.”
When it came to voting in chairs of the council’s committees, it seemed that the DUP and UUP were willing to power share when it came to the Public Sector Liaison Committee.
Sinn Fein’s Henry Cushinan was re-elected as Chair with no other proposals put forward.
But it was a different matter for the remaining chairs, with unionists taking the top seats.
Alderman Sam Dunlop was elected chair of the Development and Leisure Committee, Alderman Drew Ritchie was elected chair of the Resources Committee, and Alderman Mervyn Rea was elected Chair of the Environment and Borough Services committee.
Attempts to offer the hand of friendship to the Alliance reps on council were made when Alderman Mervyn Rea proposed Cllr. Alan Lawther for Vice-Chair of the Environment and Borough Services Committee, and the Public Services Committee, both of which Cllr. Lawther “respectfully declined”.
In the end, Adrian Watson was elected Vice Chair of Development and Leisure Committee, Brian Graham, Vice Chair of the Resources Committee, Paul Michael Public Services Vice Chair.
Sinn Fein made an additional gain when Annemarie Logue was elected Vice Chair of Environment and Borough Services.
As a result, neither Alliance or SDLP took any of the Chair or Vice Chair roles.
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Weather for Antrim
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
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