Date: 28 May 2021
Outgoing Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, has spoken of his “tremendous pride” at being First Citizen during “a year like no other”.
Alderman McCoubrey will hand over the chain of office at next week’s AGM, having taken up the post of Lord Mayor last June.
“My year has coincided with one of the greatest challenges Belfast has ever faced,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“The Covid19 pandemic has affected our city in the most fundamental ways - impacting on our everyday lives and on our interactions with family and friends; our workplaces and our schools, our businesses and our frontline services – all have been affected by the ongoing pandemic and the challenges it has created.
“And of course, it has brought great sadness to the many who have lost loved ones, and my thoughts are with those who are still struggling to come to terms with that loss.”
“When I became Lord Mayor, it was my hope that there would soon be a ray of light ahead and thankfully, as I come to the end of my year in office, and restrictions begin to ease, we are all feeling a bit more hopeful that better days lie ahead,” he added.
Alderman McCoubrey said he had witnessed first-hand the “remarkable resilience” of people across the city, and had been overwhelmed by the spirit of cooperation in communities.
“Charities, sports clubs, community groups, churches and neighbours have come together to support those in need and those on the frontline. The scale of that effort has been so impressive and I think a testament to the true spirit of Belfast and its people. It demonstrates our people’s remarkable resilience, and that is something that sets us in good stead as we take the next steps on our recovery journey, together,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
He added: “Alongside the challenges of the pandemic there have been many positive highlights throughout the last year which give me hope for the resilience and future progress of the city as we take the next steps on our recovery journey. In this year of Northern Ireland’s centenary, it is my great hope that the city will start the next 100 years with that same community spirit and cooperation that has been so abundant over the last 12 months, and that together we move forward to create a reimagined and successful city for us all.”
Alderman McCoubrey has reflected on his year in office in a short film, which can be viewed on Belfast City Council’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/belfastcitycouncil