Maolíosa McHugh is new Derry and Strabane council Mayor

The new Mayor and Deputy
Image caption The mayor and deputy mayor received their chains on Monday

Sinn Féin's Castlederg-based councillor Maolíosa McHugh has been elected mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Mr McHugh made clear that, during his year as mayor, he will not be attending Remembrance Sunday events.

"It's unlikely that I'll be there, and I've said previously and been quite frank and honest about it," he said.

He received his chain of office on Monday and succeeds the DUP's Hilary McClintock.

It is the first time someone from County Tyrone has held the position since the super council was formed in 2015.

John Boyle, of the SDLP, is the new deputy mayor.

An Irish language enthusiast, Maolíosa McHugh - who is the first male mayor of the council - has politics in his blood.

He accepted the chain of office after being nominated by his nephew, Councillor Ruairí McHugh.

He is also the brother of the late Strabane councillor Charlie McHugh, who died suddenly in 2008 after having served in the Derg area from 1985.

'Right thing to do'

Maolíosa McHugh explained that he would not be attending a "poppy day ceremony and so on" because it is "so much presented as a British military event."

"I would say that to people who wish to commemorate their dead should go along and do that in a dignified and respectful way," he added.

Mayor McHugh said that one of his main priorities would be to "open up the North West" to confront the "structural issues" relating to the region's high unemployment.

In 2015, following discussions with the Royal British Legion, Sinn Féin Mayor Elisha McCallion decided not to attend the remembrance day service at the war memorial in the Diamond in Londonderry.

Reflecting on her year in office, Hilary McClintock said it had been "full of positives".

"I think there was very little criticism of me during the year because I did seek to represent people to the best of my ability," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

Councillor McClintock was criticised, by some, for not attending the funeral of the former Bishop of Derry Edward Daly.

"Well at the time I thought it was the right thing to do but you know, I'm not looking back at the negatives from my year.

"I maybe didn't realise the importance of that to so many people in our community but we have moved on from that," she added.

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