Councillor Linda Dillon (SF) has been elected as the new Chair of Mid Ulster District Council.
Councillor Dillon will hold the position from 1 April, when the new Council becomes responsible for the services currently delivered by Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt councils.
Speaking after her the appointment at the Council’s Annual General Meeting, Councillor Dillon said she was honoured to have been chosen to lead the new Council in its first year:
“This is history in the making and I'm delighted to be part of it. My priority is the people of Mid Ulster and what it is we need to do as a Council to ensure that every person right across this district has a good quality of life.
“I believe that the community plan is going to be key to this so we need to get it right and we can only do that by working together. We have an opportunity to create change for the better. We need to grasp this opportunity and use it as a tool to create a better Mid Ulster for all.
“I will be doing everything in my power in my role as Chairperson to encourage investment in Mid Ulster. We have a responsibility in the positions we hold to create a Mid Ulster where businesses want to invest and grow, where people want to visit and spend time and most importantly, where people want to work and live and raise their family. All of this means supporting businesses, voluntary and community sectors and individuals and I am very willing to put the work, time and effort into ensuring all of this is possible.
“Mine will be an open door policy. I will welcome engagement with all sections and sectors across our very varied and diverse society and look forward to such engagements. I intend to ensure that I represent all areas and people right across Mid Ulster and to lead a Council that works hard and works together”.
Councillor Dillon also praised out-going Presiding Councillor, Councillor Cáthal Mallaghan:
“I would like to thank my friend and party colleague Cáthal Mallaghan for the wonderful job he has done in the transition year of this council. He has worked very hard with both Councillors and staff to ensure that the transition would be a success and we could deliver in the new council”.
The Council’s Vice-Chair for the same period will be Councillor Kim Ashton (DUP), who paid tribute to the work of the 3 existing councils and their elected members:
“I would commend those councillors who are now retiring, for their many years of service and dedication to public life and wish them well as they look forward to a deserved break.
“For those of us serving on the new Council, the 1st of April provides great opportunities, including being able to focus on encouraging investment, creating jobs and boosting tourism for the benefit of all our residents.
“We also face many challenges, not least with the implications of the Stormont budgets, and it is vital that all parties work together to ensure local services are retained for local people.
“I am looking forward to playing my part in achieving that aim and to carrying out my new role in the first year of the new Mid Ulster District Council”.
At the AGM, the Council also nominated and agreed the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and membership of its 5 committees and the breakdown of positions of responsibility for the complete 4 year term of the Council.