SDLP councillor Maria McCarthy is the new chairman of Down District Council.
Accepting the chain of office at the AGM on Monday night, Cllr McCarthy said she was both “privileged and honoured” to be nominated by her party to be the first citizen of the district.
The Rowallane councillor is the first female chair in seven years and is now the youngest person to take up the position at Down Council.
The new chairman said her nomination was an indication of the SDLP’s commitment to representing all ages and genders.
Addressing the chamber, Cllr McCarthy paid tribute to the hard work and dedication shown by her predecessor, Cllr Mickey Coogan.
She said she intended to continue his tireless work for the good of the entire community.
Looking to the year ahead, Cllr McCarthy said she recognised the challenges posed by the Review of Public Administration (RPA) and the difficult economic climate.