ONE of Londonderry’s longest standing SDLP councillors John Tierney has followed one of its most enduring Sinn Féin councillors in stepping down to apply for severance, it’s been revealed.
The SDLP has announced the councillor will stand down next week.
Sinn Féin recently announced Waterside councillor Lynn Fleming is also stepping down within an agreed timeframe.
Mr Tierney was first elected to Derry City Council in 1981 and served as Mayor of the city in 1984-85.
The announcement of his departure follows that of Ms Fleming’s recently.
The chair of Sinn Féin in Londonderry Andrew McCartney recently said: “I can confirm that Lynn Fleming will be stepping down from Derry City Council within an agreed timeframe ahead of the review of public administration (RPA) takes shape and subsequent changes to the local councils.
“Lynn will be taking up a new role within the party locally. We would like to thank her for her many years of service.
“As a councillor Lynn helped build the Sinn Féin support base in the Waterside. She has served the Waterside constituency for the past sixteen years and had the honour of being Mayor of Derry from 2005-2006.”
Ms Fleming is taking advantage of a window opened by former Local Government Minister Alex Attwood allowing councillors to apply for severance and resign.
Any councillors who have served 12 years and wish to can resign between August and December.
Whilst Ms Fleming is the only councillor to have availed of the arrangement, several local councillors would also be eligible.
Other councillors who would qualify include: Joe Miller (DUP), Mary Hamilton (UUP); Jim Clifford, Shaun Gallagher, Sean Carr, John Tierney, Thomas Conway, Gerard Diver (SDLP); and Tony Hasson and Paul Fleming (Sinn Féin).
If none of the councillors in question decide to apply for voluntary severance now they will have a second chance to do so running from New Year’s Day until the end of nominations for the 2014 elections.
A new shadow council will run alongside the existing Derry City and Strabane District Council’s from 2014.
Whilst existing councils will continue to collect your bin and maintain your swimming pool, the new shadow council will strike the rate and prepare the business and corporate plans for the first year of the newly-merged North West authority in 2015.