Neil Kelly: registered nurse preparing for new role as Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey

Antrim Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly has been selected by his party to be the next mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey.
Councillor Neil Kelly and his dog, 'Murphy'. Photo submittedCouncillor Neil Kelly and his dog, 'Murphy'. Photo submitted
Councillor Neil Kelly and his dog, 'Murphy'. Photo submitted

Cllr Kelly is expected to take up the role of first citizen at the annual meeting of the borough council on June 3. His deputy will be a member of the DUP.

Positions of responsibility are allocated in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in accordance with the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 using the d’Hondt method which is based on the number of seats parties have on the council.

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The first selection at the start of each new four-year term is made by the party which has the highest number of elected members, followed by the second largest party and so forth.

Cllr Kelly has represented Antrim town for the past 14 years. He is also a registered nurse and has worked in health and social care for more than 40 years.

He says he is “committed to delivering positive, progressive leadership for the area in the year ahead”.

Cllr Kelly said: “To have had the privilege of representing the people of Antrim town for the last 14 years at council has been one of the greatest honours of my life.

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Incredibly Proud

“I’m incredibly proud to now have the chance to serve them, as well as everyone else in the wider Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area, as their next mayor, standing on a platform of positive, progressive politics.”

He added he is looking forward to getting out of his own DEA (District Electoral Area) and experiencing “the great work of groups and organisations right across the borough”.

Cllr Kelly continued: “I am also looking forward to working with other political parties and council staff and helping to support and develop people as best I can.

“I’m greatly looking forward to hitting the ground running, working with people right across the local community, from business owners to voluntary organisations to the general public, on issues that are important to all of us including economic development and regeneration of our town centres, championing green policies and active travel, addressing the cost-of-living crisis and combating poverty, and promoting good relations and social cohesion, among many others.

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“I’m currently still looking into which charities I’ll be supporting during my mayoral year, but I am keen to show my support for local charities focused on issues which are very close to my heart, including support for those with special educational needs, and animal welfare.”

In his free time, Cllr Kelly can be seen walking his dog, ‘Murphy’, in the borough’s open green spaces.

“Antrim and Newtownabbey is my home and I’m excited to get out there and see first-hand the incredible work done by the people of the borough,” he added.

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“I want to enjoy it and I want to have fun and I want everyone else to enjoy it along with me.”

The current Antrim and Newtownabbey mayor is Threemilewater DUP Cllr Mark Cooper BEM.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter