Women take top roles in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council revealed

SDLP Cllr Mealla Campbell
SDLP Cllr Mealla Campbell

Women have taken the top roles in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has been revealed.

SDLP Cllr Mealla Campbell took her seat in the mayoral chair this evening at the council's Annual General Meeting.

Deputy Lord Mayor Margaret Tinsley

Deputy Lord Mayor Margaret Tinsley

While the DUP's Cllr Margaret Tinsley has become the new Deputy Lord Mayor.

Lord Mayor Campbell started by paying tribute to her predecessor Julie Flaherty.

The young mum of three children said: "My life centres around my family."

She plans to surprise her children by visiting their school in her first engagement as Lord Mayor.

"In 2016 I lost my brother to stomach cancer and I was crippled with grief," she said, extolling those who helped her through this crisis.

She said she will be choosing a charity that reflects helping those with mental illness and also a children's cancer charity.

Nominated by party group leader Cllr Mark Baxter described the new Deputy Lord Mayor Tinsley as a 'formidable character' and a 'rose among thorns' as she is the only female DUP councillor on the ABC group.

The new Deputy Lord Mayor thanked her DUP colleagues for their support.

"They know there are two very important things in my life, my faith and my family," she said, welcoming her family who were in the chamber with her this evening.

Outgoing Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty had earlier welcomed 14 newly elected councillors.

She paid tribute to those councillors who retired or failed to get elected.

"We have a lot of work to do. We need to bring back that civic pride in our towns and villages," she said.

"I have been reflecting on what has been a truly remarkable year," she said, thanking staff for their help throughout the year. She said she handed over £20k to Downs Syndrome Association.

"It has been a pleasure, a once in a lifetime experience," she said.

Outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Paul Duffy thanked everyone who helped him through the past year.

"From China to Keady, Banbridge and Armagh, it has been wonderful. I met a lot of great people along the way."

The council has been using D'Hondt since its inception in 2015 and remains the case.