by Alastair Brian
Sadie Docherty, is Glasgow’s new Lord Provost. A Labour Councillor in Linn ward since 2007, she is only the 4th woman to hold the post.
She said: ‘I am thrilled to be elected as Lord Provost. It’s a great honour – especially at a time when Glasgow is flourishing. In two years’ time, the city will host the Commonwealth Games. They represent a huge opportunity for Glasgow, especially in terms of the social and economic benefits and lasting legacy they will leave for the people of this city. This is the biggest event the city is ever likely to stage and I’m really looking forward to my role of showcasing Glasgow to the world.’
She also underlined her commitment to open debate and stressed she was looking forward to working with all her fellow councillors to tackle the welfare issues prevalent in Glasgow. ‘Let Glasgow Flourish,’ she said in closing, voicing the city’s motto. Her deputy is Gerry Leonard, Councillor in North East Ward since 1999.
Gordon Mathieson, representing Anderston/City, was re-elected Leader of the Council, a position he has held since 2010 when Stephen Purcell demitted office. Breaking with tradition, the opposition did not nominate a candidate for Lord Provost or Leader of the Council. SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: ‘ We recognise the Labour majority, and as such their authority to appoint these posts.’
In response, Councillor Mathieson thanked the SNP for their position and promised that Labour would respect the mandate of the opposition and carry their majority fairly. He said: ‘Labour will deliver on every one of the promises in our manifesto.’
He also paid generous tribute to former opposition leader Allison Hunter, noting that in opposition: ‘she was never an enemy and was someone we all had great respect for.’ Councillor Archie Graham, who has represented Langside since 1995, was elected Deputy Leader.
The following Bailies were appointed: Labour Party – Philip Braat, Elizabeth Cameron, Aileen Colleran, Jonathan Findlay, Elaine McDougall, Hanif Raja, Mohammed Razaq, Anne Simpson, Sohan Singh, Allan Stewart, Fariha Thomas. SNP – Josephine Docherty, Martin Docherty, Iris Gibson, Phil Green, John McLaughlin. Green Party – Nina Baker. Liberal Democrats – Margot Clark.
Glasgow’s Irish community kicked off its celebration of St Patrick with a family festival at Glenconnor Park on Royston Road.
At the launch of a week-long calendar of events put together by the city’s Irish cultural and sporting organisations, Pat McAleer, of Garngad Irish Heritage Group (GIHG), said: ‘This is the fifth year we’ve been running our St Patrick’s event and we’re trying to make it as inclusive as possible.
‘We see this as a two-pronged approach to educating people: children of an Irish background are having their culture reaffirmed, saying it’s okay to celebrate your Irishness. Children who are not from an Irish background are, I think, seeing Irishness in a positive light and I think that has many good aspects to it.’
Pat believes outreach is a huge part of GIHG’s work. ‘Trying to educate people in Glasgow what the word “ethnic” means is a big job. Most don’t seem to understand that you can be Scottish, but of an ethnic Irish background and make it alright for people to celebrate that Irish dimension to their background.’
The week’s events were given the city’s approval by Deputy Lord Provost Bailie Alan Stewart, who was joined by MSP Paul Martin and Glasgow North East MP Willie Bain.
Paul Martin, who celebrates his birthday on St Patrick’s day, praised the efforts of GIHG, its committee and volunteers in growing the annual event.
He added: ‘There are so many people getting to know about this and I assure you we (elected officials) will continue to support the hard work in respect of the celebrations of St Patrick’s day and we look forward to the future.’
Meanwhile, Tir Conaill Harps Gaelic Athletic Club has launched a £15,000 fundraising appeal to replace its minbus, which was destroyed in a firebomb attack in Lambhill.
The club’s committee has asked Strathclyde Police to investigate the incident as motivated by anti-Irish sentiment.
The club raised nearly £1200 through catering and a tombola stall at the St Patrick’s festival, while a further £1,500 was added following a concert in King’s Park.
The club’s ‘Get the Harps Back on the Road’ campaign continues with a gig at the Admiral Bar, Waterloo Street, on April 29, with Anarkali, The Wakes and The Amahdains set to perform. Tickets are priced £8.