Beckett expected to become first citizen


Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council was due to hold its first Annual General Meeting yesterday (Thursday) with Thomas Beckett set to take the top post.

At the first meeting of the newly amalgamated super council, the members were expected to elect the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the incoming year.

It is understood that the largest party on the council, the DUP, will take the top slot for the first year of the council term, with the Ulster Unionist Party securing the Deputy Mayor position. The UUP will then have the Mayor’s post in the second year of the council term, with the Alliance Party holding the first citizen’s chain in the third year of the four year term.

The DUP will once again take over the Mayorship for the final year of the council term.

The Ulster Unionists and the Alliance Party will alternate the Deputy Mayor’s role in between their Mayorships.

The posts of Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the committees, are elected as a result of serious negotiations between the parties.

Star sources have indicated that current Lisburn Deputy Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, will be nominated by the DUP for the honour of being the first mayor of the Lisburn Castlereagh super council.

The Ulster Unionist Party are expected to nominate their Westminster election candidate Councillor Alexander Redpath as Deputy Mayor.

The forty councillors who make up the new council were elected in May and take up their posts in earnest on April 1.

The new councillors will represent the expanded council area with seven district electoral areas of Castlereagh East, Castlereagh South, Downshire East, Downshire West, Killultagh, Lisburn North and Lisburn South.

Councils are being given new responsibilities and a broader range of powers. Combined with partnership working with other Departments and Agencies, this will make Councils more effective and flexible to local need.

The most significant increase in council powers will be in planning. The new Council will now be the main decision maker with regards to the vast majority of planning applications.

The new Councils will also be responsible for producing local development plans as well as working with neighbouring Councils in regards to adjoining areas. It will be up to Councils, working with local people, to create a clear vision of what the Council area will look like in the years to come.