Council Honours Long Serving Councillor
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council paid tribute to Councillor Dermot Curran in recognition of his years of public service. Councillor Curran is Northern Ireland’s longest serving elected representative, having first been elected to Down District Council in 1973.
The event to mark his outstanding service was held in The Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch, on Friday 18 January 2019. Some 100 invited guests from local, regional, national government and non-governmental organisations came together to celebrate Councillor Curran’s achievements.
Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said, “Dermot Curran has been dedicated to public service since his very first election as councillor to the then Down District Council. Not only did he serve two terms as Chairman, in 1986/87 and 2011/12, he continued to serve on the new Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, with his election in 2014.
“Our council has been fortunate to have many hard working and exemplary Councillors who strive to make this district a better place to live and work in, and no-one demonstrates this more clearly than Dermot. During his first term as Chairman of Council, Dermot had the vision to work with councils across Ireland to develop relationships and encourage co-operative projects.
“In 2004, Dermot established the Dermot Curran Young Achiever Award which was designed to acknowledge and encourage outstanding young people who have contributed to the economic development of Down district.
“We are not the only body to recognise the contribution that Dermot has made to our district. In 2009 Dermot was judged the winner of the Local Government Awards Best Initiative by a Councillor and just last year was presented with the National Association of Councillors Long Service Award.
“I am proud to be Dermot’s colleague and friend and look forward to working with him for many years to come.”
Speaking at the celebratory event, Liam Hannaway, Chief Executive of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council also commended Councillor Curran’s many years of service, “Not only has Councillor Curran devoted his life to serving the people of our area, he has also been active as an executive member of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since its inception. He is currently the President of NILGA and has previously served as Chair for the 2014/15 year.
“Among his many other responsibilities, Councillor Curran has held positions in the Safety Partnership, the South Eastern South Eastern Health Local Commissioning Group, Down Rural Area Partnership, Peace IV Partnership, Partnership Panel for NI, ARC21, National Association of Councillors, FLAG Fisheries Fund and Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme. Councillor Curran has also been a member of the Eastern Group Environmental Health since it was established and was the Chair in both 1987 and 2010.
“At the same time, Councillor Curran has focussed his attention on improving the infrastructure and economic possibilities within the district. He led the Tri-Fisheries Partnership and, as part of this, was instrumental in securing funding for a major environmental improvement scheme in Downpatrick and has campaigned for a much needed hotel in Downpatrick.
“We often do not take the time to recognise the important work that the Council and Councillors do, year in and year out. I am pleased that we have been able to do so today.”
Hosts and guests enjoyed superb musical performances by Geraldine O’Doherty, Principal Harpist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and founding member of the ensemble ‘Triocca’ and violinist Joanne Quigley McParland, founder and Director of Newry Chamber Orchestra and a principal player with the English Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic and Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. The evening concluded with Councillor Curran being presented with a watercolour painting, entitled ‘A Clear Day at Ballyhornan’ by local artist James G Miles and a portrait by Crossgar artist Leo Casement.