Female leaders describe their duty as a ‘great honour’

PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough is the only super-council in Northern Ireland to have a succession of female Mayors since its inception in 2015.

The four female leaders have each had successful terms in highlighting, promoting and praising the Borough with each describing their duty as a ‘great honour.’

The First Citizen of the Borough has a number of responsibilities, including encouraging and supporting all aspects of life in the Causeway Coast and Glens by attending civic and public events, receiving distinguished guests to the Borough and promoting the area as a tourist destination.

The present Mayor, Cllr Brenda Chivers who stands down as Mayor on Tuesday evening (14th May ) said “I was a Mayor for all. My main ambition was to bring everyday people into my parlour and the council chambers to show the engagement between the council and its people. Many people felt disengaged from council and I have worked tirelessly to resolve this. I attended over 500 events in the CCGBC. I was a former Mayor of Limavady Borough Council.

During my term, I met Prince Charles and Princess Anne from the British Royal Family as the Boroughs first Sinn Fein Mayor. I brought all creeds and classes to the council and attended events for everyone. We celebrated pride week in the council and I also was the first Mayor to launch the Easter Lily at the council offices at Easter. I have really enjoyed representing the people of this Borough and feel honoured to have had the opportunity to do so.”

Cllr Michelle Knight – McQuillan who was the first Mayor of the new Causeway Super-council said “Female representation was about 25% on CCGBC, my goal as the super-councils first Mayor was to try to bring the four council areas together. It was like bringing people together to make a patchwork quilt. As a matter of fact, that’s what we did. We made a patchwork quilt to show togetherness of the areas that made up this council at the end of my term in office.

I wanted to make sure that I was as inclusive as possible by attending as many functions as possible and varied to include community, sport, business etc. It was essential for me to bring the four former councils together as one which I believe I contributed to and helped build, by visiting and reaching out to as many groups and people as possible.”

The former Alderman Maura Hickey said she had a great year and that the highlight of her year was meeting Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Borough. ‘It was like one Granny chatting to another Granny’. I am not a Royalist but I really enjoyed the Queen’s visit and it was a great day when she visited Bushmills to unveil the Statue of Robert Quigg VC and visited Royal Portrush which will host The Open Golf Championship this year.

I also went to the Whitehouse in the USA which I wasn’t keen on at first but looking back I was delighted to represent this borough at the Whitehouse. I also feel that Community engagement in this area works very well and is very important to us as an engagement process”.

Finally, Cllr Joan Baird said in her term that when she took over that it was a very steady council and she sights goals in Environment, Education and Business and representing the CCGBC area at a variety of events during her year. She said “Plastic Waste and Mechanical projects in Education was very important to me. My pinnacle was addressing the Hon Irish Society in London during my term of office. It was great talking about project Kelvin and the Atlantic which we host in the Borough. It was a great opportunity to addresses the business community and encourage them to invest in our Borough.”

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