Dromore in double top spot

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Dromore hit double top at

Friday’s Banbridge District Council AGM, with local councillors elected to fill both chair and vice-chair positions.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Olive Mercer is the council’s new chairma; the vice-chairman’s seat went to Dromore DUP Councillor Hazel Gamble.

The DUP, who backed the SDLP’s Seamus Doyle for the chair - in an attempt, they said, to head off the prospect of SDLP and Sein Fein holding both top posts in 2014, the council’s final year - said they held nothing personal against Mrs Mercer and wished her well for the incoming year.

Mrs. Mercer thanked fellow Councillors for electing her.

“It is it is an honour and a privilege to have been granted this prestigious opportunity,” she said. “It brings with it many responsibilities and I look forward to working with Councillor Gamble as we meet and talk with the people who live and work in the district’s towns and the surrounding rural areas.”

Mrs. Mercer also took the opportunity to place on record her admiration for the area’s many volunteers and carers, whose “magnificent contribution” in giving give freely of their time to support and care for others, she gratefulluy acknowledged.

Among the first to offer Mrs. Mercer her congratulations was fellow Dromore Councillor and Ulster Unionist Carol Black, herself a recent past vice-chairman of the council.

“Olive’s election was a great success for the Ulster Unionist Party,” she said.

“I wish her all the very best in her year ahead as council chairman.”

Ms Black announced she and Mrs. Mercer hoped soon to open a new party office in Dromore.

The office will replace the former UUP constituency office operated by Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea, one-time Ulster Unionist turned co-founder of Northern Irelands’ latest political party, NI 21

“We will both of us continue doing what’s right for Northern Ireland and what’s right for Dromore,” said Councillor Black.