'Symbolic first' as new DUP mayor receives chains of office from Sinn Féin

New DUP Mayor Hilary McClintock
Image caption Mrs McClintock said there were "exciting times ahead"

For the first time in Londonderry an outgoing Sinn Féin mayor has placed the chains of office around the neck of a DUP successor.

Hilary McClintock was elected as mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council on Monday. The SDLP's Jim McKeever is the new deputy mayor.

In 2012, the DUP mayor of Londonderry Maurice Devenney refused to hand his chains to Sinn Féin's Kevin Campbell.

Mayor McClintock said it was "significant" but things had moved on.

"Its part of the process towards normality, the same thing happened in Belfast council a few days ago," she said.

"It was something that we discussed locally and it wasn't really a big deal so we're quite happy to accept it (mayoral chains) from the outgoing mayor."

'Second class'

The Drumahoe based councillor said that during her term she wants more investment because people in the north west feel like "second class citizens".

"I don't want us to be second class I want us to punch a bit higher and I will hopefully lead on that," she said.

"I don't think it's even a party thing. I think west of the Bann we sometimes do feel neglected.

"There's a lot more that can be done for the city, in terms of unemployment we have absolutely woeful figures.

"We do need to bring more jobs and more infrastructure," she added.

Family, friends and councillors from different parties clapped and cheered as former mayor Elisha McCallion placed the mayoral chain around Mrs McClintock's neck.

The former mayor told BBC Radio Foyle she was delighted to be able to do so.

"I'm delighted everything went well for the new mayor and I want to wish her all the best for the future, and the deputy mayor as well," Mrs McCallion said.

"Its a very symbolic day because that was actually the very first time a DUP mayor has accepted a chain from a Sinn Féin ex-mayor.

"It just goes to show you where we are as a society here in this city so I was delighted to do that honour," she said.

Mrs McClintock, who is married with two daughters, has previously worked as a civil servant and a classroom assistant.

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