New Council leaders look forward to year ahead

Councillor Martin Kearney
Councillor Martin Kearney

SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney was elected as the new Chair at the annual meeting of Mid Ulster District Council on Monday night.

The new Deputy Chair is the DUP’s Councillor Clement Cuthbertson.

Councillor Clement Cuthbertson

Councillor Clement Cuthbertson

The Chair was previously held by Sinn Féin Councillor Sean McPeake, while the deputy position was occupied by Councillor Frances Burton (DUP). Cllr Kearney paid tribute to his predecessors and thanked them for how they discharged their duties in the last year.

He said: “We open a new chapter in the life of the Council with the opportunity to build on the achievements of our first term and continue to implement the strategies, plans and policies developed in the last four years, particularly in the implementation of our Community Plan.

“As a former teacher, one of my focuses will be on children and young people and supporting efforts to address the plight of our colleges and schools, particularly our primary schools.

“I am committed to using my life experiences and to working across traditions, with a sense of community spirit and reconciliation guiding my time in office.

“I aim to listen, learn, protect and promote and to work together with all my colleagues for the benefit of the people of Mid Ulster”.

New Deputy Chair, Cllr Cuthbertson, said he looked forward to the year ahead. “I would like to thank the people in the Dungannon area who entrusted me with their vote which has enabled me to assume this role,” he said. “My interests have always been at the grassroots level and this role will allow me to gain an even greater understanding of the needs and priorities of the local community.

“I will continue to speak out on relevant issues, such as GP provision, rates and anti-social behaviour in our public parks, as before, and to address other important issues as they arise. It will be good to meet with and to show recognition to the people who carry out so much valuable, voluntary work within our community.”