Speaking after her selection, the well-known youth worker said she aimed to build on the excellent work started by Laura McNamee, particularly focussing on youth provision across East Belfast and community engagement – creating a greater connection between Belfast City Council and everyone in the constituency.
After seven years, Laura McNamee has decided to stand down from frontline politics to focus on her teaching career.
Councillor Sian O’Neill said: “It is an honour to follow in Laura McNamee’s footsteps as the newest Ormiston Councillor and I am looking forward to continuing the excellent standard set by Laura – who has shown both courage and conviction in always doing what is right for her constituents.
“I’m also thrilled to be joining the pro-active and effective Alliance team on Belfast City Council. As the third largest party we have continually worked to ensure all decisions are not only open and transparent, but fair and address key concerns of local people.
“It is an exciting time to be part of Alliance, which continues to show real leadership where others are lacking. This leadership starts at local government level and I relish the opportunity to get to work with my colleagues – together determined to create a new shared society, based on mutual respect, free from sectarianism and inclusive to all.”
Laura McNamee added: “It was a very difficult decision for me to make, especially given the amount of support I had received, both from the local association and various community organisations I had had the privilege to work with whilst serving on Council.
“I was privileged to be able to represent constituents and work with local communities to deliver projects and that made it all worthwhile, despite the hard times. I will still be involved with some local projects, however, albeit behind-the-scenes. I hope Sian will enjoy her time on Council as much as I did and I am sure she will deliver a fantastic service for the people of Ormiston.”