Long installed as new Lord Mayor of Belfast – for three weeks

Michael Long takes on the role just weeks after the death of his father, former Queen’s University Professor Adrian Long.
Long installed as new Lord Mayor of Belfast – for three weeks

Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Alliance Party Councillor Michael Long has been installed as the new Lord Mayor of Belfast.

However, Mr Long, the husband of party leader Naomi Long, will only hold the position for three weeks.

He took up the role at Monday’s monthly meeting of the council at Belfast City Hall after the previous mayor and party colleague, Kate Nicholl, was elected an MLA to the Stormont Assembly.

Double-job rules mean that she now has to relinquish her role as a councillor.

Her term of office was due to end on June 1st, meaning that Mr Long will have the shortest term of office of any mayor in the city.

Mrs Long, herself a former lord mayor, will now take up the position of lady mayoress.

Speaking as he took office, Mr Long said: “I am delighted to be the new Lord Mayor for Belfast.

“I am sure many of you are shocked to see me here today. Nobody is more shocked than I am to be perfectly honest.

“Kate Nicholl has been an inspiration to everybody across our city. I am not even going to try to keep up with her.”

Mr Long takes on the role just weeks after the death of his father, former Queen’s University Professor Adrian Long.

He said: “It is great that my mum has been able to be here today. My father passed away a few weeks ago, but I am sure he will be looking down somewhere proud today.”

Canadian-born Mr Long added: “I am the second foreign-born lord mayor in a row for this city and I think that sends a very positive message that this city is open, welcoming and inclusive and wants to reach out to everybody in our society.

“Kate, coming from Zimbabwe, has shown how much she wants to bring inclusion to our city, and I am very happy to do that.”

A number of other Belfast councillors have had to vacate their places after they were elected to the Assembly, including Sinn Fein’s Danny Baker, Brian Kingston and David Brooks of the DUP, and Nuala McAllister and Peter McReynolds from the Alliance Party.

Their parties will now co-opt replacements on to the council.

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