Former political prisoner to become Belfast’s first out deputy mayor
An openly gay former political prisoner is set to become the Deputy Mayor of Belfest.
Sinn Féin Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell, has been nominated by her party to take up the second most senior civic role in Belfast.
The 47-year-old has been an active republican from a young age and is an ex-political prisoner.
Ms Campbell has fronted many of the party’s campaigns on gender equality, LGBT issues and suicide prevention since she was co-opted on to the Council in 2010.
Despite the introduction of same-sex marriage in England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP government in Northern Ireland continues to block all legislation on the issue.
The DUP has promised to keep blocking equal marriage for as long as possible.
Ms Campbell told the News Letter: “Visibility will be my theme for the year and visibility in elected office is vital to promote positive messages and demonstrate public commitment to equality.
“I am a woman. I am openly gay. I am a republican ex-political prisoner and I am from a working class community.
“I experience the challenges that many marginalised citizens face in Belfast.”
She added: “I intend in my year in office to highlight and put a focus on the rights and needs of the gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“In this centenary year of the 1916 Rising it is important that we affirm its democratic, equal and inclusive commitments.
“My election as an openly gay deputy mayor is a very good modern example of these commitments.”