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Finucane new Lord Mayor of Belfast

John Finucane with his mother Geraldine in Belfast City Hall on Tuesday night John Finucane with his mother Geraldine in Belfast City Hall on Tuesday night
By Conor McParland

JOHN Finucane said his father was in his thoughts as he was officially made the new Lord Mayor of Belfast last night.

The Sinn Féin councillor, a new face on Belfast City Council, was nominated by the party for the position of the city’s first citizen.

John’s father, prominent Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead in 1979 by a state-controlled loyalist gang in front of his family.

Speaking in the Chamber at the council’s AGM on Tuesday evening, John said: “Tonight is a special night for them and, of course, for me.

“And of course never far from my thoughts, more so on a night like tonight, is my father Pat.

“I know my dad would be proud tonight as my entire family are, as am I, of the position being elected Mayor of Belfast places me in.”

John added that his focus for the year ahead will be on diversity and inclusiveness.

“As Mayor, I want to bring a message of diversity and inclusiveness to the year ahead.

“I have been brought up and lived my life in an inclusive, welcoming environment where difference and diversity are embraced and celebrated, and I am proud of that.

“I am the product of a mixed marriage, of a Catholic father from West Belfast, and a Protestant mother from East Belfast.

“I have relatives who are unionist and I have relatives who are republican.

“My upbringing has shown me that everyone deserves to be, and must be, treated equally.

“I want a strong, vibrant Belfast in which political persuasion, sexuality, religious choice or skin colour make no difference as to how a citizen is treated.

“I want a Belfast where we champion the rights of the most vulnerable in our society and do so proudly, without fear, without favour.

“I will never accept that undeniable rights are merely privileges, to be given and taken from those in need by those in power.

“It is my intention as Mayor to convene a special conference to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity in this city and to show how that fantastic diversity can enrich our city and the lives of all our citizens.

“As Mayor I will reach out the hand of friendship and do my best to help build a future we can all be proud of.”

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