After years of exclusion from the top posts in Castlereagh Borough Council, the Alliance Party’s Councillor Geraldine Rice was today elected Deputy Mayor.
Alliance had been excluded from the top posts by the DUP and UUP for many years, having only had one Deputy Mayor in the past 25 years, despite the
fact that their electoral strength would have given them the Mayoralty in every one of the past 7 Council terms if any system of proportionality had been used.
Councillor Rice said, “For me personally this has been a long time coming, but it is welcome, it is a step in the right direction and I can only hope
that this marks the beginning of a real change of attitude of the DUP and UUP to sharing power in the Borough.
“In the recent elections, Alliance increased our support across the Borough with all Alliance sitting Councillors elected on the first count whilst our new Councillor, Judith Cochrane, was elected with the second highest number of first preference votes in Castlereagh East.
“We believe that this was down to our record of hard work for all of our constituents and our alternative vision of a shared Castlereagh. This has resulted in Alliance becoming the joint second largest party in the Borough for the first time ever and we believe that today,s election is a clear recognition of our strengthened electoral mandate.
“In recent months, people have quite rightly been sceptical about the DUP’s support of our proposals for a voluntary coalition to help us resolve the impasse at the Assembly because of their poor record of sharing on Councils like Castlereagh.
“Today is an important first step towards a fairer deal for everyone in Castlereagh — time will tell if it marks a real move forward, as I would
hope. I promise to do my best to continue to represent all of the people of the Borough over the next year in my new role, just as I have done as a Councillor in Castlereagh South for the past 16 years.”