SDLP’s Wilson ‘honoured’ to be the last mayor of Larne

Mayor of Larne Martin Wilson and Deputy Mayor Gregg McKeen.  INLT 24-689-CON
Mayor of Larne Martin Wilson and Deputy Mayor Gregg McKeen. INLT 24-689-CON

SDLP Councillor Martin Wilson has said he hopes to rise to the challenge after being selected as the last mayor of Larne.

The Larne Town representative was appointed to the role at the council’s AGM on Monday night.

His election as mayor was a bittersweet moment for Cllr Wilson, who failed to secure a seat on the new Mid and East Antrim Council at the local government election last month.

The new authority will operate in shadow form until April 2015, when it will take over the reins from Larne, Carrick and Ballymena Councils.

Cllr Wilson will remain on Larne Borough Council until that date, and now has the honour of serving as Larne’s First Citizen for the final year of the council’s existence.

Speaking after he received the chain of office from outgoing Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow, Cllr Wilson told the Larne Times: “This is a great honour for me.

“I have been on Larne Council since 2011, so I have served a very long apprenticeship to get to this point.

“I hope to rise to the challenge and serve everyone across the borough faithfully.

“The fact that this is the final year of the council’s life makes this all the more special.

“Like everything in life, people always remember the first and the last .

“I believe Captain Ferris was the first ever Mayor of Larne, and here I am, Martin Wilson, the last mayor.”

Cllr Wilson will be supported in his mayoral duties by DUP Councillor Gregg McKeen, who has been chosen to serve as deputy mayor.

Cllr McKeen said: “This is a great honour and privilege for me.

“I look forward to representing all the people of the Larne borough and doing whatever I can to promote various organisations, groups and the borough as a whole.”

Meanwhile, outgoing Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow looked back on a memorable year, which she described as “a wonderful and life-changing experience”.

Speaking at the AGM in Smiley Buildings, the Coast Road representative thanked her fellow councillors and council staff for their help and support over the past 12 months.

Cllr Morrow said the highlight of her year in office was the visit of Prince Charles to Larne last June.

She added: “It has been a great honour and privilege to serve the people of Larne over the past year.

“And what a busy year it has been. From beginning to end I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment.”

During the AGM, the chairs and vice chairs of the four standing committees were also chosen.

Those elected were as follows: Public Services – chair, James McKeown, vice chair, Bobby McKee; Environment – chair, Drew Niblock, vice chair, Gerardine Mulvenna; Development – chair, Michael Lynch, vice chair, Maureen Morrow; Policy and Resources – chair, Roy Beggs, vice chair, Mark McKinty.