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New council must mean ‘new era and new politics’

New ABC SDLP councillors

The SDLP’s Group Leader on the new Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has said that the new Council must be a new era for local politics.

Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon was speaking at the first meeting of the new shadow Council in Craigavon on Thursday night.

Councillor O’Hanlon said: “This evening marks a new beginning in local government across this region and what we do in this place and in our meetings
over the months ahead will be watched with great interest from the communities we all represent.

“The discussions we have and the decisions we make will have a real impact on the lives of our communities, on the staff we employ and indeed how this place grows and prospers in the years ahead.

“The banner on display acclaims in the room tonight is branded, ‘New Council, New Era,New Beginning,’ to that I believe we need to add a New Politics, a new politics of respect and a politics of strong, positive leadership, a politics of partnership and of understanding.’

‘We all represent diverse communities, not just Nationalist or Unionist but also the new communities who have come to work and live here, but also people from rural or urban communities, from places like Derrynoose to the edge of Lough Neagh, we represent a big area with big challenges and big decisions lie ahead.’

Councillor O’Hanlon also added: “Whilst there are newly elected public representatives among us, many of us come from the existing Armagh, Banbridge
and Craigavon Councils. We come from very different political environments, those councils do things in their own way and are three very different and proud
institutions, but tonight as we walked through that door we leave those institutions and their practices behind.

“For from tonight we need to see this body, this organisation as new, as something different, as an opportunity to do things differently and to do things for the better.”

He concluded saying: ‘This is a historic evening, tonight we begin the process of bringing together our councils, our job of work has to be the bringing
together of all the communities within this new area. Our Communities and our staff will look at this chamber and where ever we meet, the will take their lead from the way we behave towards each other and the way we embrace the changes and challenges that lie ahead.

“The SDLP are up for those challenges, I hope we can call work together to make this place a better place to work, live and do business in.”

McNally takes Vice Chair in New Council

Sinn Fein ABC Councillors

Long standing Sinn Féin councillor Darren McNally has been named as the first ‘Vice Chairperson’ of the newly established Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

Speaking following his nomination during the new council’s inaugural AGM held in Craigavon Civic Centre on Thursday 12th June, councillor McNally said;

“I’m delighted to be named as the Vice Chairperson of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council and I wish to thank my party, Sinn Féin for entrusting me with this important position.

“The work of the shadow council in this first year is vitally important as it will shape the direction which Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council will take.

“Sinn Fein has extremely high hopes for the new council and I want to start by congratulating each of my 40 fellow councillors on their election.

“The citizens of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council have placed their trust in us and it is imperative that we deliver top class services for them.

“I also want to wish Roger Wilson and all of the council officials well in their new roles and I am confident that we will create a good working relationship together, working as equal partners for the development of this new district.

“There is much work to be done over the council term and I am enthusiastic and energised for the challenges ahead. My party colleague Gemma McKenna, has also been elected as Chair of the important Planning Committee.  We will work diligently, professionally and fairly with all sections of our community and we now look forward to working for all the people of the new Council area.”

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