Unionists ‘were let down by Sinn Fein mayor’

Derek Hussey is the new deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council
Derek Hussey is the new deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council

Outgoing Derry City and Strabane District Council mayor Maoliosa McHugh has been accused of letting down the unionist community during his year in office.

He was replaced as mayor by the SDLP’s John Boyle at Monday night’s annual general meeting of the council at the Guildhall in Londonderry.

Unionist councillors said the Sinn Fein mayor had let the unionist people down by failing to meet Prince Charles, turning down an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and wearing his mayoral chain of office to visit republican prisoner Tony Taylor.

New deputy mayor, Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey, said: “There were some very significant omissions during your year as mayor.

“In your incoming speech last year you pledged to engage with everyone without exception.

“When the invitation to the palace came through you did not pass it on so that someone else could go.

“You denied us that chance and I deeply regret having to make these remarks.”

Independent unionist councillor Maurice Devenney said: “I am deeply disappointed in your year as mayor.

“When Prince Charles visited the victims of the floods in Eglinton you did not just snub the unionist community, you snubbed your own community.

“You were entitled to visit Tony Taylor as a constituency matter, but why did you wear the chain?

“The new mayor has a huge job to do building back up that community relationship.”

Incoming mayor Mr Boyle paid tribute to the hard work of his predecessor and said he pledged to serve everyone in the community equally and openly.

“My door will always be open and I will do my best to represent all the people of this area,” he said.