7 June 2012

PJ McAvoy has become Ballymena’s first ever nationalist mayor. The SDLP councillor was elected to the post on Thursday evening. He described it as a “great honour” to represent the entire borough.

“It is a great honour to have been elected mayor for all of Ballymena and that is the mayor I intend to be – inclusive, progressive, putting aside the divisions of the past and looking to the future,” said Mr McAvoy.

“I know that my election is something of a milestone for the borough, but I believe that that is a mark of how far we have come these last few years.

“I look forward to the year ahead – representing each and every citizen of the borough and working with both them and my council colleagues to build on Ballymena’s position as a major hub of business and tourism.”

Mr McAvoy has previously served four times as deputy mayor in the borough.

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell congratulated him on his new appointment.

“PJ’s election is due reward for a long and distinguished career representing the people of Ballymena and I know he will do an excellent job as mayor,” Dr McDonnell said.

“I wish him a very successful year of office.”