Sinn Féin women take top County Derry council posts
Sinn Féin councillor, Kate McEldowney has been elected chairperson of Magherafelt Council. She is the second republican woman to take a top council post in County Derry in recent days following her party colleague Brenda Chivers's election as mayor of Limavady.
Cllr McEldowney said:
"It is a great honour for myself to be nominated for the role of council chairperson by my Sinn Féin colleagues. Like my party colleague, Brenda Chivers who was elected as Mayor of Limavady Borough Council, it is my intention to represent everyone in the district equally and without favour as well as to ensure that marginalised groups are given a strong voice in relation to their needs.
"We are all facing very challenging times in the months ahead given the effects of the US credit crunch on the global economy. The rise in the cost of living is a real worry for many people. Everyone is noting the rise in prices when paying for the weekly shopping.
"As public representatives we need to focus on rising energy and food prices. We need to give priority status to the concerns of low income and working families who are living on already tight budgets with increased mortgage payments and high rents. We must also place the needs of older people living on miserly pensions firmly on the agenda for change.
"The task of eradicating fuel poverty which Magherafelt district scores very highly on in relation to the north's league table is going to be harder to address, but address it we must. We do not want to hear of anyone in our local community having to make a choice between their weekly shopping or heating their home efficiently. The consequences of such decisions on people's health are appalling.
"Our local economy is very much dependant on the performance of the construction industry and this is reflected in the career choices of many of our young people. The downturn facing construction is off great concern to the many people employed in the sector and related industries. The eradication of rural planning policy PPS 14 which has negatively affected our district in terms of the sustainability of rural communities as well as its dire consequences for the local construction industry needs to be addressed immediately by the incoming DUP minister for the Environment. It is my intention as Council Chairperson to take a firm lead on all these important issues." ENDS