Casey and Donnelly elected to Mayoral positions

May 31, 2011

By Paul Malone   Email:

Sinn Fein Councillor Charlie Casey has expressed his delight at becoming the new Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council.

Commenting on his new role at the head of the Council Casey said, “I feel that I have served well in this council for the past ten years so to be the Mayor will make for a challenging but rewarding year ahead. I am lucky in that I follow in the footsteps of my Sinn Féin party colleague Mick Murphy whose tenure as Mayor has been an example to all. I also look forward to working with my deputy Mayor Geraldine Donnelly who I’m sure will be an excellent support to me.”

Having served on the Council for ten years, Casey says he has seen a lot of changes in the political landscape across Ireland.

“We no longer have to live under direct rule from Westminster but enjoy the power to make our own decisions and shape our own destiny.”

He believes all party politics must be set aside in order for the council to get work done.

“I want to lead a united and focussed council through the challenges and difficulties presented by the next year. I firmly believe that councillors from the various political parties and those who do not subscribe to any formal party arrangement owe it to the people who elected them to work for everybody in a spirit of inclusivity.”

Casey admits there is a lot of hard work to be done, particularly with the recession affecting people both North and South of the border. “The current economic climate is something which must take priority not only for the Mayor but for all councillors and council staff.  We had a situation where Newry was booming over the past ten or so years. Unfortunately this is no longer the case but we must now begin to look at what the Council can do to alleviate the problems which people are facing.”

The cuts to the block grant from Westminster by the Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition has hit council finances hard and Casey believes this must be tackled head on by the council. He continued, “We must look to our strengths to try to create the conditions for employment. We must bear in mind the Dept of Enterprise Trade and Investment’s recent announcement that a new business park is planned for land adjacent to Carnbane Industrial Estate. This work is to begin in September and will provide long term employment opportunities for people in this area.”

The ongoing and well documented lack of leisure facilities in the city is well known and something which Casey hopes can change during his tenure.

“I want to make sure that Newry has the facilities of any other city on this island and I also want to make sure that every other town and village across the district has access to adequate facilities.”

On the year ahead Casey added, “I want to use it to build on the foundations laid by outgoing Mayor Mick Murphy and to work with community groups and individuals across the District to put Newry on the map and showcase our great assets.”

Donnelly elected to Mayoral positions

By Paul Malone   Email:

Crossmaglen councillor Geraldine Donnelly of the SDLP expressed her gratitude and delight at being elected as Deputy Mayor for Newry and Mourne.

“I am absolutely delighted to be chosen by my colleagues and I thank them and all the voters for their faith in me.”

On working with the new Mayor Casey, she continued, “I am very happy to be working with Charlie Casey, I think we will make a great team for the benefit of the community. Also I wholeheartedly agree with what he said about leaving party politics aside, we must do that to ensure we all work for the whole community.”

Donnelly said she is excited about the year ahead and hopes to influence more women to become active in local politics. She said: “I know the coming year will be hectic combining my busy work as a councillor with representing the entire district as Deputy Mayor but I will do my very best to represent the area. I am really looking forward to taking on this role.

“At the moment there is only two women councillors which is unfortunate. In the future I would like to see a lot more getting involved.  I think it is very significant that the post of Deputy Mayor has been held by a woman for a second year and demonstrates the SDLPs strong belief that women have an important role to play in politics. Since 2003 only three female councillors have held the post of Deputy Mayor and all were put forward by the SDLP

“I also want to pay tribute to the outgoing Deputy Mayor, Karen McKevitt, who did a fantastic job. I have a really hard act to follow but I will work as hard as I always have. Also, it is great because I really enjoy my work, it is so rewarding,” she added.