The former Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock has spoken of the discontent within the Unionist community regarding the neutrality of the office of Mayor.

The Mayor recently wore the chain of office on a visit to Maghaberry Prison to visit Tony Taylor (pictured) along with his Sinn Fein colleagues MEP Martina Anderson, MP Elisha McCallion and MLA Raymond McCartney.

Alderman McClintock has described this latest incident as a step too far for many within the community she represents.

She said: “Since Mayor McHugh took up office, we have witnessed him wearing the chain of office to a Sinn Fein election Victory Event and heard the very inadequate response that he offered after that event.

"The Mayor has made no attempt to include those who wish is to use the rightful name of the city of Londonderry.

"His latest support for Tony Taylor, a man convicted of planting a bomb in Londonderry and possessing a rifle, causes further alienation of a large section of the community he should be representing.

"This mayor has made no attempt to reach out the hand of friendship to the PUL community and has set back community relations at a time when Sinn Fein constantly demand respect and equality.

"During my time as mayor I attempted to undertake the civic role of Mayor without bringing party politics into play. I was welcomed and applauded by people across the divide for doing this, it was my duty to serve all equally, as it is his.

"The current Mayor needs to respect all traditions in the city and district by showing inclusiveness and some sensitivity to those whose views are different to his. He needs to differentiate between his own views which may well be the same as his Party's, and then the Mayoral position he holds which should be above this.”

Mayor McHugh has previously said that the council's support for the release of Mr Taylor justified his decision to wear the Mayoral chain to a rally calling for Mr Taylor's release in Guildhall Square.

He also came under criticism from the Unionist community for wearing his chain on that occasion.

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