SDLP's John Boyle is chosen as next mayor of Derry

SDLP councillor John Boyle Image copyright SDLP
Image caption SDLP councillor John Boyle is expected to be formally appointed in June

SDLP councillor John Boyle will be the next Mayor of Derry and Strabane.

Mr Boyle, a councillor for the last seven years, is the region's current deputy mayor.

He was selected as the SDLP nominee at a party selection convention on Thursday .

Under Derry and Strabane District Council's power sharing arrangement, it is the party's turn to select the first citizen.

Mr Boyle said he was delighted to be chosen and looking forward to taking on the role.

"I'd like to thank all my colleagues and friends in the SDLP who have supported me, not just tonight but over the years in council," he said.

He added: "My priority will be to look for creative ways to bring jobs and investment here - and I'll ensure we get a city deal for the people of the north west."

City deal status gives local areas specific powers to help support economic growth and job creation.

Image caption Securing city deal status is as part of Derry City and Strabane District Council's long term economic strategy

Mr Boyle said the region's economic challenges can not be ignored.

"It can't be any secret that we face huge challenges in this city, in this border region. Brexit is a train coming down the track at pace.

"There has to be a collegiate approach to tackling all of the issues we face. A very key focus that we need to concentrate on is working to fill the skills gap in the region, to give opportunities to young people here.

"The important thing is we all work together, make it work for all of the people of our city and district. Without a collegiate approach, it becomes much more difficult."

Mr Boyle also said he will "treat his unionist brothers and sisters with the utmost respect."

He is expected to be formally appointed formally as Mayor at the beginning of June when he will replace the district's current mayor, Sinn Féin's Maolíosa McHugh.

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