[Sinn Fein]

5th May 2002

Belfast elects City's first Sinn Fein Mayor

Newly elected Sinn Fein Mayor of Belfast Cllr. Alex Maskey last night vowed to represent all of the people of the city. Speaking immediately after his election as the first ever Sinn Fein Mayor of Belfast Alex Maskey said:

``My election to the position of Mayor represents a landmark occasion in the development of the city of Belfast. For too long the image of Belfast has been tarnished by the inability of the City Council to operate in a manner characterised by fair play and equality. My appointment has to some degree consigned many of the past inequalities and discriminatory practices to the annals of history.

``It is my intention to ensure that my year in office reflects and as far as is possible addresses the needs of all of the people in this city. My pledge as newly elected Mayor is to work for and with all of the citizens of Belfast. I will ensure that all people are treated equally.

``I expect to be judged on what I do as Mayor. In the days ahead it is my intention to introduce a number of measures  which I believe will make Belfast City Hall more inclusive. No citizen or section of the community should feel excluded from this institution.

``I am very conscious of the historic import of my election. I am also conscious of the concerns that have been expressed by some politicians. I would like to assure them and the people that they represent that I have worked and will continue to work with all political parties in a collective way to provide civic leadership.''

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