New Mayor vows to represent everyone & to campaign for investment
01 June 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council tonight elected a new Mayor to represent the City and District for the incoming 2020-21 year, when the SDLP’s Cllr Brian Tierney took over the reins from Sinn Fein’s Cllr Michaela Boyle at the Council’s virtual Annual meeting this evening.
The new Mayor, who will be supported in his role by the DUP’s Alderman Graeme Warke who takes up the position of Deputy Mayor, said he was deeply honoured and privileged to represent the city and district. He vowed to represent everyone, highlighting that campaigning for increased investment for the North West would be his key priority for the year ahead.
“I intend to be a Mayor for each and every citizen across this Council area and will do my best to represent this council area and every citizen within it to the best of my ability. I intend to be out and about the City and District as much as I can and no area will be left out or indeed favoured over another. I intend to represent people in every DEA on behalf of the Council to deliver the best possible future we can for our people.”
Acknowledging the difficulties faced and sacrifices made as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Tierney said he hoped his year could be marked and remembered as the time when people can be brought back together and when communities across the city and district will reunite once again.
Outlining his commitment to campaign for investment, Mayor Tierney said: “Throughout my time as Mayor I intend to put a huge amount of my time into encouraging and fighting for as much investment in this City and District as we can. This is a critical moment
“As Mayor, when it comes to investment in this city, I want to preside over a turning of the tide not another false dawn. I will work day and night to ensure that people in the North West are not let down again. There have been some signs of progress - but we have a long way to go.”
He outlined his commitment to advancing to the next stages of the City Deal and the expansion of Magee University. He said that while it was understandable that the key focus for the British Government, the Executive and Council over the recent months has been on fighting Covid-19, it is vitally important that conversations on strategic projects are not put on hold.
“Pausing these projects because of a pandemic simply can’t mean they are permanently postponed. None of us can allow that to happen. I intend to bang every door that I can in Belfast, Dublin or London to make sure that we have a strong case put forward for investment in Derry and Strabane.
“If the opportunity arises I will travel wherever I have to, to ensure that people across the world know that Derry and Strabane is open for business and will welcome visitors to our beautiful Council area.”
Mayor Tierney also outlined his commitment to working in close partnership with partners in Donegal to promote the North West region as an investment area for Governments on both sides of the border.
He said: “Bringing about recovery in our city and district and across these islands requires all of us to now work together. Our people have risen to the challenge of this pandemic, it is our job to rise above past difference and build a better future for everyone who calls this place home. “
Looking forward, Mayor Tierney said as a result of the unprecedented emergency of Covid-19, the coming weeks and months would be a ”trying and testing” time for the city and district.
He acknowledged the impact Covid-19 has had on many families and extended his condolences to those who have lost loved ones because of the pandemic and paid tribute to the work carried out by the community and voluntary sector in bringing out the best in the community.
He also paid tribute to all those working in health care and all frontline workers who are working to keep people safe and to ensure essential services are provided.
Acknowledging the role played by his predecessor Cllr Michaela Boyle during her term as Mayor, Brian Tierney said she had done an excellent job during a very challenging time, adding that he looked forward to working closely with Deputy Mayor Alderman Warke in the weeks and months ahead for the betterment of the area.
He paid tribute to his family for their continued support, in particular his wife Cheryl, children Cian, Shane, Mary-Kate and Ben, as well as his parents Brian and Mary, sisters and wider family circle.
Announcing details of his official Mayoral charity, Mayor Tierney said Aurora Counselling Services, who work to provide support for those with mental health issues, was a very worthy cause that he was keen to support and promote during his mayoral year.
He said: “Tackling the mental health crisis in this city and district must remain a major focus of all we do. That work has become all the more crucial with the stress and strain of the last number of months have inflicted. Aurora are central in that work by offering a wide range of mental health services to children, teenagers and adults. They attend both primary and secondary schools offering play therapy, counselling and for adults they assist with cognitive behavioural therapy. They currently have around 15 staff members in their team who are regularly backed up by a team of volunteers and I believe they deserve our recognition and support and I’m delighted to nominate them as my chosen charity for the year ahead.”
Concluding the new Mayor said he looked forward to meeting with people and doing all he can to represent everyone across the City and District. He said being elected Mayor was a huge honour and he looked forward to the challenge ahead.