Council first as SF take committee chair

Cllr Gerry O'Reilly
Cllr Gerry O'Reilly
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Newtownabbey councillors nominated a Sinn Fein representative as chair of a committee for the first time in the organisation’s history.

At the council’s AGM on Monday night SF councillor Gerry O’Reilly was nominated by Ulster unionist councillor Mark Cosgrove for the position of chair of the council’s audit committee.

The DUP took the chairmanship of four of the committees.

Thomas Hogg was named Environment Committee chair with Billy Ball named vice chair; Mandy Girvan was appointed Leisure Committee chair with John Scott named vice chair; Jackie Mann was handed Development Committee chairman and Robert Hill his vice chair and Pamela Barr is to head up the Policy and Governance Committee with Lynn Frazer as vice chair.

Alliance representative Tom Campbell was named chair of the Planning and Consultation Committee with DUP Alderman Billy DeCourcy named vice chair.

Councillor O’Reilly’s nomination was the first time councillors have put a SF member into the chair of a committee. While SDLP representative Noreen McClelland was nominated for the vice chair position of the committee.

Councillor O’Reilly told the Times he was “very happy” with the position of the committee which only meets three times a year, compared with the regular monthly committee meetings.

He said: “This goes to show the inclusivity and positive working relationships we are working on developing in the council and this is a furtherment of that good work.

“I was very pleased that it was Councillor Cosgrove who put my name forward and delighted that it was Councillor Jackie Mann who seconded the nomination.

“There has been a lot of positive engagement in the council and we will be working on more committees over the coming year.

“It’s going to be an interesting year with the new council and possibly an election coming up next May and it will be interesting to see how that works.”