Second republican Mayor of Derry
Second republican Mayor of Derry

The Mayoral chain of Derry has been placed on a second Sinn Féin Mayor.

Gearoid O hEara was elected on a majority count after the unionist bloc Fáiled to stop his appointment.

DUP Councillor Joe Miller was unanimously elected to the role of deputy Mayor during the ceremony, but insisted there would be no co-operation between the two men.

In his acceptance speech Mr O’hEara urged unionists to work with him.

He stated that equality for all citizens would be the cornerstone of his year in office.

“I will use my year in office to represent all the people of this city, working to help create a city of equals within an Ireland of equals.”

ln the absence of DUP council leader Gregory Campbell, Willie Hay voiced unionist opposition to the appointment.

Attacking both the d’Hondt system and Sinn Féin, Mr Hay said: “We are not against the individual and are not against the Sinn Féin nominee because he is a member of a political party.

“We are not against him because he holds a political viewpoint we disagree with.

“And he might go so far as to hold out the hand of friendship, but let me say none of that will work.

“Sinn Féin is clearly connected to a terrorist machine and until they deal with that, there will be no trust.”

Mr O’hEara, however said that he detected more hope than despair in Mr Hay’s words.

Mr O’hEara was nominated for the role of First Citizen by Sinn Féin council party leader Maeve McLaughlin.

Ms McLaughlin said Mr O’hEara had extensive political experience in the North West region, stretching back over 30 years.

“The next year will present huge challenges and huge opportunities to this entire region and equality will guide Gearoid’s year.”

Former Sinn Féin Mayor, Cathal Crumley seconded the motion.

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