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Derry Journal

Much work remains to be done to bring about “true reconciliation” between Derry’s divided communities, the city’s new Mayor Gerard Diver has declared.

Mayor Diver, of the SDLP, made his remarks during his inaugural address as the city’s new First Citizen at the Annual General Meeting of Derry City Council in the Guildhall last night. DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney was elected as Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Diver said it was a “huge honour ” to be chosen by his colleagues to be Mayor of Derry.

The Mayor’s comments on reconciliation follow a weekend of sectarian disturbances at the Fountain-Bishop Street interface during which stones and bottles were thrown from both sides of the ‘peace wall.’
Colr. Diver, paying tribute to those working towards reconciliation in the city, insisted more needed to be done.

“We need Derry to be a city where people both want to stay and want to come to,” he said. “We need it to be a welcoming place for all. On a local level there is still work to be done to bring about true reconciliation between all sections of our community. I hope to use the role of Mayor to contribute to that aim in a true spirit of co-operation and friendship,” he said.

Derry’s new First Citizen also said young people were crucial to achieving reconciliation and he pledged to work with all young people in the city.

“No one has more to contribute to the future of our city than our young people,” he remarked. “As a father, and having worked with young people directly for a number of years, I know that they have so much to offer in terms of creativity, energy and commitment. I believe that Derry City Council and the wider community must find ways of engaging further with them. We want our young people to be confident that this is a good place to live and somewhere where they want to be involved in building their own future,” he explained.

DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney said he was “humbled and honoured” to be chosen as the city’s deputy mayor for the year ahead. Alderman Devenney said he was looking forward to the challenges his new role would bring.

By Victoria O’Hara
Belfast Telegraph
Tuesday 3, June 2008

A veteran Republican was last night elected Belfast’s new Lord Mayor amid DUP accusations of a political deal.

Sinn Fein’s Tom Hartley is the second republican to become the city’s first citizen with Ulster Unionist David Browne elected deputy Lord Mayor.

Mr Hartley, a councillor for west Belfast, was nominated by his party while west Belfast councillor Diane Dodds was put forward by the DUP. Mr Hartley received 25 votes from the Chamber while Mrs Dodds received 23.

During the voting for Lord Mayor, Mr Browne issued no vote for either candidate while two other councillors, the SDLP’s Pat McCarthy and the UUP’s Sir Reg Empey were not present.

In the election of deputy Lord Mayor Mr Browne was nominated by fellow UUP councillor Bob Stoker and attracted support from Sinn Fein and Ulster Unionist benches. He beat the Alliance candidate Marie Hendron 38 votes to 11.

Speaking after the election, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds hit out at the lack of support from Mr Browne for fellow unionist candidates: “It was very noticeable that the leader of the UU group David Browne failed to back the unionist candidate and in return he got the Sinn Fein vote for Deputy Lord Mayor.

“I think it was appalling; there was obviously some sort of deal done. However, we did support Mr Browne as the Ulster Unionist candidate for Deputy Lord Mayor.”

After receiving his mayoral chain from outgoing Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers, Mr Hartley said: “It will be my aim as Lord Mayor to help develop our city’s political culture away from a legacy of division towards civic and cultural diversity — to turn what divides us into a diversity that enriches our city and the lives of our citizens.”

Mr Hartley is the second Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast. Alex Maskey preceded him in 2002.

02 June 2008

The Sinn Fein leadership is expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London on Tuesday.

The talks come amid mounting speculation that Sinn Fein is prepared to derail Peter Robinson’s elevation as first minister on Thursday.

Sinn Fein is known to be unhappy at the DUP’s continued veto of devolving policing and justice, and other issues.

The potential crisis could result in an assembly election being held to break the deadlock.

It was expected to be a formality after Ian Paisley stepped down as first minister to be replaced by Peter Robinson that Sinn Fein would nominate Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

If Mr McGuinness is not nominated, the two parties have one week to resolve the issue before the secretary of state steps in.

Shaun Woodward could call an election to break the deadlock.

The potential crisis is serious enough to have got the attention of both London and Dublin with telephone diplomacy involving the two governments.

In a statement, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said his party was focused on talks to resolve outstanding issues such as the devolution of policing and justice and an Irish language act.

02 June 2008

A key witness in the Robert McCartney murder trial has denied changing his story to match evidence expected to be given by another witness.

Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death three years ago

Brendan Devine, a close friend of Mr McCartney, was also stabbed on the night he was killed in January 2005.

He rejected a defence QC’s suggestion he was changing his account of where he saw an alleged gouging incident.

The QC questioned why in his initial statement he had not mentioned Terence Davison, 51, who denies murder.

Mr Devine said it may have been because he was afraid as he believed IRA members were involved.

‘Evil way’

He told Belfast Crown Court he saw Mr Davison “gouging” at Mr McCartney’s face “in a really evil way”.

He said he would “never forget” the expression on his alleged killer’s face.

The defence barrister suggested Mr Devine was changing his account of where he saw the alleged gouging incident to “dovetail in with the evidence that you anticipate witness C will say”.

Mr Devine replied: “All I can do is tell it the way I remember it and the way I seen it.”

Mr Davison is also accused of affray as are James McCormick, 39, and Joseph Gerard Emmanuel Fitzpatrick, 47.

Mr Fitzpatrick is further charged with an assault on another of Mr McCartney’s friends.

Rude gesture

The prosecution witness said a row had broken out in a pub after Mr Davison’s wife mistakenly thought a rude gesture made by Mr McCartney was directed at her.

Mr Devine said he had tried to calm the situation down and offered to buy drinks for the women but the next thing he knew, he was struck on the head with a bottle.

He said his throat had been cut three times and showed the court scarring on his neck.

Mr Devine said he went outside with Mr McCartney and two other men but were followed by a gang of up to six men and chased into nearby Market Street.

“All I can remember was turning around and seeing someone grinning in an evil way”, he said.

He told the court that he later identified his attacker from a police line-up as Mr McCormick.

‘Nobody deserves this’

As he fled the scene, Mr Devine told the court he looked back and saw Mr McCartney standing with his hands up and shouting, “nobody deserves this”.

He said the man attacking his friend was an “older man” who had appeared “more respectable” in the bar and had demanded an apology for the gesture.

Mr Devine said that during the police line-up, he had identified Mr Davison as “the older man”.

Under cross-examination, the witness conceded that he told police that Mr Davison was not part of the group which came from the bar or the group who chased himself and Mr McCartney.

“I had police security around me with guns, and people saying to me I was going down a hole – in my mind I had to be careful what I said because of the nature of these people and where they came from,” he said.

“If I didn’t say anything crystal clear, it was because at that time I was afraid.”

He also agreed that although he has claimed he saw Mr Davison gouging at his friend, there was no weapon in his hands at the time.

The trial continues.

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile


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