High SheriffThe current High Sheriff of Belfast is Councillor Brian Kingston. He was sworn into office on 16 January 2013 and is the 113th High Sheriff of the city.
Councillor Kingston is a member of the DUP and was elected to represent the Court district electoral area of Belfast in May 2011.
As well as serving on various council committees, he's been involved with a number of other organisations, including the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (NI), Greater Shankill Partnership Board, Argyle Business Centre Board, Belfast Boys` Model School Board of Governors, Belfast City Centre Management, Highfield Community Centre Committee, Joanmount Open Door Ltd, various residents and community groups, and the Social Investment Fund Steering Group for West Belfast.
He is a member of the:
- Health and Environmental Services Committee
- Town Planning Committee
- Development Committee
Duties and responsibilitiesUnlike the Mayoral year, the post of High Sheriff begins in January and ends the following December.
Historically, the position of High Sheriff is one of the oldest secular offices in Britain, dating back to the Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898. In 1900, Alderman Sir James Henderson became the city's first High Sheriff.
Today, appointments to the position are made by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, usually upon the recommendation of the council. The role is now largely ceremonial, with the High Sheriff providing support to the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor during their term in office.
- attending civic functions hosted by the Lord Mayor
- undertaking specific functions on behalf of the council
- attending functions in place of the Lord Mayor
- providing general support to the Lord Mayor.
Addressing the High SheriffIf you are speaking in public and would like to welcome or introduce the High Sheriff, the usual form of address is simply 'High Sheriff'. For example, "and so, I'd like to welcome Brian Kingston, the High Sheriff of Belfast."
If you are speaking to the High Sheriff in conversation, the correct title remains 'High Sheriff'.
If you would like to write to the High Sheriff, you should address your letter to 'the High Sheriff, Brian Kingston'. You should also begin your letter with 'Dear High Sheriff'.