Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough honours Alderman Fraser Agnew

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is to mark four decades of service by Alderman Dr Fraser Agnew MBE in local politics.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A bench is to be placed at Mossley Mill in recognition of his 40 years’ commitment.

The Ulster Unionist councillor was first elected to the legacy Newtownabbey Borough Council in 1980, serving as Mayor from 1990-1991, followed by a second term in 2013-2014. He has also served as Deputy Mayor from 1989-1990 and from 2012-2013.

The motion was proposed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor Councillor Jim Montgomery, who said: “I am proud to propose this motion. Fraser has faithfully served this borough for four decades and that length of service is testament to the faith and trust placed in him by the public and the respect for him across the council chamber.

Fraser AgnewFraser Agnew
Fraser Agnew

“A keen historian, he has contributed much to the life of the council and has been the driving force behind many projects over the years. The fact that he was awarded the Freedom of the Borough in 2007 and a Member of the British Empire in 2015 is testament to his dedication to the borough.”

Speaking at a meeting of the local authority earlier this week, the mayor said: “It is record-breaking in this chamber and throughout that period, he has gained much respect throughout the community for his hard work and dedication within Newtownabbey and then Antrim and Newtownabbey and also served in the Northern Ireland Assembly. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Fraser.”

DUP leader on council Alderman Phillip Brett quipped that 40 years is a “political lifetime”.

He remarked that his service  on Antrim and Newtownabbey council “outweighs DUP’s members’ service combined”.

“He has served on numerous occasions as mayor and his service was recognised by the Queen through an MBE. Friends in the United States have even dedicated a Fraser Day.

“The dedication of Fraser Agnew to public service cannot be under-estimated.”

Ulster Unionist leader on council Alderman Mark Cosgrove added: “Forty years’ public service in any walk of life is a tremendous achievement.”

He described Mr Agnew as “exemplary and a constant source of wisdom” and noted that to have been elected as an Independent member, previously, shows the esteem in which he is held in his District Electoral Area – Threemilewater.

Alliance councillor Alderman Tom Campbell commented: “Fraser has been an asset to the borough over many years.

“He is a wise and dedicated public servant and has great knowledge about the Somme.”

He cautioned that Fraser would not be in favour of a tribute that was “immodest at a time when rates are being increased and there are redundancies”.

“A bench may be something that would find favour across the chamber.”

The Mayor stated that when options are being considered, the council would “look at current conditions”.

Glengormley Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Goodman said: “Anyone who has given 40 years to public service deserves recognition.”

SDLP leader on council Cllr Roisin Lynch acknowledged the “personal commitment from him and his family in service to his community” which she described as “outstanding”.

Ulster Unionist Cllr Robert Foster joked that it is “probably more heroic than historic to have managed 40 years”.

SDLP Cllr Noreen McClelland said she agreed that a bench would be a “very fitting tribute”.

Commenting on the tributes, Ald Agnew said he wished to offer a “sincere word of thanks” for putting the motion forward.

He added: “I’m not sure who you were speaking about. It was really nice to hear. It is very touching.

“It has been a privilege and pleasure to have been a member of council for more than half my life. I will go on for another two years, then I will hang up my boots.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

Click here to read: Agnew honoured to be elected first citizen


Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.