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Published on 14 July 2010 10:00 AM

A delighted Price McConaghy - aged 82 - took the Chair of Moyle Council (Monday 22nd June) and told councillors: "I am not as young as I used to be. You will have to be patient with me!"

After the meeting the Independent veteran from Lisnagunagh, who first joined became a local representative away back in 1957, said he is looking forward to his year in office.

He remarked that it was the case that the Council was moving from one of the youngest to the oldest as he replaced Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane as Moyle's 'First Citizen'.

There had been controversy at the end of Cllr McShane's term when she was not present to meet Prince Edward and his wife Sophie - instead opting to go to the opening of the Ballycastle town 'gateway' project.

But after last night's meeting, Cllr McConaghy - who has been in the Chair several times before - said: "I will meet everybody. I always did so when I was Chairperson and I will do so again."

Cllr McConaghy said his elevation to Chairperson was the "biggest shock I have got for many years."

And it all came about because the SDLP - who under the Moyle Council D'hondt proportionality system - had first offer on the Chair - turned down the position instead opting for the Vice-Chair which will be filled by Cllr Madeline Black.

An Independent had been due to be deputy but the SDLP's Catherine McCambridge suggested Price - one of the greatest servants to local government ever seen in the Moyle area - takes the Chair.

Price was wearing a broad smile as Cllr Cara McShane shook his hands to hand over the reins of power and other councillors clapped to show their congratulations.

Earlier councillors paid tribute to Cllr McShane for her work during the year but it was noticeable there was an absence of general tributes from Unionists.

Cllr McShane said one of the highlights of her year was building up links with the community in the Bushmills area.

She wished to thank Council officials and staff, councillors, the press and many people who helped make her year in charge a "very memorable and enjoyable experience".

Events which stood out for her included the visit of the Tall Ships to Ballycastle and the inaugural Armoy Armada road races and also the May Ball this year which was held in conjunction with Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce which raised £7,000 for charity.

She ended with a few words in Irish.

Her party colleague, Cllr Oliver McMullan, said she had "reached out to the whole of Moyle" and would be a "hard act to follow"

Cllr Madeline Black said Cllr McShane's being in the Chair was an inspiration to what young people can achieve and the former Chairperson's brother, Cllr Padraig McShane, said he and his family is proud of her.

When she took the position of Vice-Chair, Cllr Black said she will endeavour to work hard throughout the year.

Councillors also agreed that Ulster Unionist councillor Willie Graham will be the new Chairperson of Moyle District Policing Partnership when the position changes later in the year.

* At the start of the meeting, councillors stood for a minute's silence as a mark of respect following the death of Council Assistant Chief Executive Moira Quinn's mother.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575