Cathal Crumley elected Derry mayor
``I will discharge all the responsibilities of mayor to the best
of my ability and I intend to do so with generosity, camaraderie
and vision. I intend to embark upon a year characterised by a new
openness, inclusivity and accountability,''said newly elected
Derry mayor Cathal Crumley of Sinn Féin.
Cheers and sustained applause filled the Guildhall chambers as
the results of the election were made known. A former republican
POW and blanketman, Cathal Crumley defeated the unionist nominee
Ernie Hamilton by 21 votes to 8. It was an historic victory.
Cathal Crumley is the first Sinn Féin mayor of an Irish city
since Terence MacSwiney was elected in Cork in 1920. But Cathal's
thoughts were closer to home. In his acceptance speech, the newly
elected mayor quoted Derry nationalist H.C. O'Doherty.
```Today, a long and painful chapter in the history of Derry is
closed and a new one is opened.' O'Doherty said these very words
in 1920 when he was elected the first Catholic Mayor of Derry
since 1688,'' said Crumley.
``O'Doherty continued: `I trust when it comes to be written it
will show a spirit of toleration and forbearance amongst all
creeds and classes.' These words are as relevant today as they
were eighty years ago,'' Cathal told the hall. ``O'Doherty's
groundbreaking election came about due to the combined Sinn
Féin/nationalist vote under a proportional representation system.
Shortly after proportional representation was abandoned. The
majority community of this city had to wait another 50 years to
have one of its members elected mayor of Derry City.
``Contrary to O'Doherty's optimism upon his election, the
discrimination, demonisation and exclusion that he was referring
to did not end with the election of a nationalist mayor in 1973.
Until tonight it continued to be practised against republicans.''
``Thankfully, tonight sees the closing of the door on the politics
of exclusion with my election as the first Sinn Féin mayor of
Derry City. As O'Doherty expressed all those years ago, `the
mayoralty should be within the reach of every deserving citizen'.
``We are changing the face of Derry, the failed politics of
exclusion end tonight and I can assure you that during my term of
office no one will be denied their rights. I will be open,
impartial, fair and pragmatic.
``I offer my hand of friendship to the unionist community and
trust they will have the maturity to react in a reciprocal
fashion for the betterment of this city. For that is what this
office is all about.''
The annual meeting started 20 minutes late after more than 200
people who had gathered outside the Guildhall were allowed into
the chambers to witness the election. Education Minister Martin
McGuinness watched the proceedings from the public gallery.
The only sour note came from unionist councillors Gregory
Campbell of the DUP and Ulster Unionist Andrew Davidson. ``The
election of a terrorist mayor will make the chasm [between
unionist and nationalist] wider and deeper than ever before,''
said Campbell. Davidson was afraid of ``a year of republican
Unionist councillor Ernie Hamilton was returned for a second term
as deputy mayor with the unanimous support of the council.