Longest serving Magherafelt councillor ‘glad’ he is not moving to new super council

DUP Councillor Tommy Catherwood.
DUP Councillor Tommy Catherwood.

The longest serving member of Magherafelt District Council, DUP Councillor Thomas Catherwood has said he is glad he is not going forward to serve on the new Mid Ulster Council.

Speaking a the last full meeting of Magherafelt Council, Councillor Catherwood said over the years he had noted that the council had become a cold house for unionism.

It is a cold house for unionism as far as I’m concerned and I don’t see it improving

“I’m glad I’m getting out after 30 years service,” said the ‘father’ of the council. “It is a cold house for unionism as far as I’m concerned and I don’t see it improving.”

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Councillor Catherwood thanked the Council Chief Executive, officers and staff for their help over the years.

SDLP Councillor Jim Campbell, whose term draws to a close at the end of the month, described the meeting as a historical occasion.

He paid tribute to his party colleagues who had held 37 seats on the council down the years and the huge contribution they had made to improving the quality of life for people in the district.

“I have enjoyed being a councillor and I would like to wish all the councillors going forward on their voyage of discovery,” he added.

Sinn Féin group leader Councillor Sean McPeake stressed that members should be pleased with what has been achieved in terms of new leisure and sporting facilities.

He said they had heard about the council being a cold house for unionism but his thoughts were with “two brave men”, party colleagues John Joe Davey and Bernard O’Hagan who had lost their lives while serving the community. Ulster Unionist Party Councillor Jackie Crawford, who is also bowing out of local politics, wished everyone all the best for the future.