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Belfast City Council

Belfast City Council

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Belfast City Council is the local authority
Local government in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is divided into 26 districts for local government purposes. In Northern Ireland local councils do not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the United Kingdom, for example they have no responsibility for education, for road building or for housing...

 with responsibility for the city of Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. The Council serves an estimated population of (TXT=Year}}), the largest of any district council in Northern Ireland, while also being the fourth smallest by area. Belfast City Council is the primary council of the Belfast Metropolitan Area
Belfast Metropolitan Area
The Belfast Metropolitan Area is a grouping of council areas which include commuter towns and overspill from Belfast, Northern Ireland with a population of 579,276. The area was first officially classified as a Metropolitan area in the late 1990s when the Government began to prepare for a cohesive...

, a grouping of six district councils with commuter town
Commuter town
A commuter town is an urban community that is primarily residential, from which most of the workforce commutes out to earn their livelihood. Many commuter towns act as suburbs of a nearby metropolis that workers travel to daily, and many suburbs are commuter towns...

s and overspill from Belfast, containing a total population of 579,276.

The Council is made up of 51 councillors, elected from nine district electoral areas across the City and holds its meetings in the historic Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall is the civic building of the Belfast City Council. Located in Donegall Square, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, it faces north and effectively divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre.-History:...

. The current Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor of Belfast
The Lord Mayor of Belfast is the leader and chairman of Belfast City Council, elected annually from and by the City's 51 councillors.The Lord Mayor is Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Féin, while the Deputy Lord Mayor is Ruth Patterson of the Democratic Unionist Party, who were elected in May 2011.The...

 is Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, while the Deputy Lord Mayor is Ruth Patterson of the Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

, both of whom were elected in May 2011.

History



Belfast's modern history can be dated back to the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

 in the early seventeenth century which brought significant numbers of Protestant Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 settlers to Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

. The town gradually developed to become a major industrial centre, in particular in the areas of linen and ship building. In recognition of this growth Belfast was granted city status in 1888 and by 1901, it was the largest city in Ireland. The city's importance was evidenced by the construction of the lavish City Hall
Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall is the civic building of the Belfast City Council. Located in Donegall Square, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, it faces north and effectively divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre.-History:...

, completed in 1906.

The body now known as Belfast City Council has its origins in the defunct Belfast Corporation and was created on its current boundaries following the local council elections of May 1973. Originally it was intended that there would be 52 wards. However, local enquiries meant that the proposed Tullycarnet ward became instead the Castlereagh Borough Council wards of Tullycarnet and Gilnahirk. Although the county borough
County borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...

 of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

 and County Down
County Down
-Cities:*Belfast *Newry -Large towns:*Dundonald*Newtownards*Bangor-Medium towns:...

 with the River Lagan
River Lagan
The River Lagan is a major river in Northern Ireland which runs 40 miles from the Slieve Croob mountain in County Down to Belfast where it enters Belfast Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The River Lagan forms much of the border between County Antrim and County Down. It rises as a tiny fast...

 generally being seen as the line of demarcation.

From the late eighteenth century onwards, the City's Roman Catholic population gradually increased, although the city was still dominated by its mostly Protestant Unionist
Unionism in Ireland
Unionism in Ireland is an ideology that favours the continuation of some form of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain...

 majority. In 1997, Unionists lost overall control of Belfast City Council for the first time in its history, with the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland is a liberal and nonsectarian political party in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party overall, with eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and one in the House of Commons....

 gaining the balance of power between Nationalists
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 and Unionists. This position was confirmed in the three subsequent council elections, with mayors from Nationalist Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 and Social Democratic and Labour Party
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

 (SDLP), and the cross-community Alliance Party regularly elected since 1997. The most recent election in 2011 saw Nationalist councillors outnumber Unionist councillors for the first time, with Sinn Féin becoming the largest party.

Coat of arms and motto


The city of Belfast has the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 motto "." This is taken from Psalm
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 116 Verse 12 in the Latin Vulgate Bible
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 and is literally "For (Pro) so much (tanto) what (quid) we shall repay (retribuamus)" The verse has been translated in bibles differently – for example as "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?". It is also translated as "In return for so much, what shall we give back?" The Queen's University Students' Union Rag Week publication PTQ derives its name from the first three words of the motto.

The coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of the city (pictured, above right) are blazoned as Party per fesse argent and azure, in chief a pile vair and on a canton gules a bell argent, in base a ship with sails set argent on waves of the sea proper. This heraldic language describes a shield that is divided in two horizontally (party per fesse). The top (chief) of the shield is silver (argent), and has a point-down triangle (a pile) with a repeating blue-and-white pattern that represents fur (vair). There is also a red square in the top corner (a canton gules) on which there is a silver bell. It is likely that the bell is an example here of "canting" (or punning) heraldry, representing the first syllable of Belfast. In the lower part of the shield (in base) there is a silver sailing ship shown sailing on waves colored in the actual colors of the sea (proper). The supporter on the "dexter" side (that is, the viewer's left) is a chained wolf, while on the "sinister" side the supporter is a sea-horse. The crest above the shield is also a sea-horse. These arms date back to 1613, when King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 granted Belfast town status. The seal was used by Belfast merchants throughout the 17th century on their signs and trade-coins. A large stained glass window in the City Hall
Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall is the civic building of the Belfast City Council. Located in Donegall Square, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, it faces north and effectively divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre.-History:...

 displays the arms, where an explanation suggests that the seahorse and the ship refer to Belfast's significant maritime history. The wolf may be a tribute to the city's founder, Sir Arthur Chichester, and refer to his own coat of arms.

Councillors


Belfast City Council currently comprises 51 electoral wards
Electoral wards of Belfast
The electoral wards of Belfast are subdivisions of the city, used primarily for statistics and elections. Belfast has had 51 wards since May 1973, which were revised in May 1985 and again in May 1993...

, nominally one for each elected councillor. However, as the PR-STV voting system requires multi-seat constituencies, the 51 wards are grouped into nine district electoral areas (DEA) which elect between 5 and 7 councillors each:

  • Balmoral
    Balmoral (District Electoral Area)
    Balmoral is the most southern of nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The district elects six members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Blackstaff; Finaghy; Malone; Musgrave; Upper Malone and Windsor...

    (6)
  • Castle
    Castle (District Electoral Area)
    Castle is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the north of the city, the district elects six members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Bellevue; Castleview; Cavehill; Chichester Park; Duncairn and Fortwilliam...

    (6)
  • Court
    Court (District Electoral Area)
    Court is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the west of the city, the district elects five members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Crumlin; Glencairn; Highfield; Shankill and Woodvale...

    (5)
  • Laganbank
    Laganbank (District Electoral Area)
    Laganbank is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the south of the city, the district elects five members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Ballynafeigh; Botanic; Shaftesbury; Stranmillis and Rosetta...

    (5)
  • Lower Falls
    Lower Falls (District Electoral Area)
    Lower Falls is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the west of the city, the district elects five members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Beechmount; Clonard; Falls; Upper Springfield; and Whiterock. Lower Falls forms part of the...

    (5)
  • Oldpark
    Oldpark (District Electoral Area)
    Oldpark is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the west of the city, the district elects six members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Ardoyne; Ballysillan; Cliftonville; Legoniel; New Lodge and Water Works...

    (6)
  • Pottinger
    Pottinger (District Electoral Area)
    Pottinger is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the east of the city, the district elects six members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Ballymacarrett; Bloomfield; Orangefield; Ravenhill; The Mount and Woodstock.The wards of Ravenhill...

    (6)
  • Upper Falls
    Upper Falls (District Electoral Area)
    Upper Falls is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the west of the city, the district elects five members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Andersonstown; Falls Park; Glen Road; Glencolin; and Ladybrook. Upper Falls forms part of the...

    (5)
  • Victoria
    Victoria (District Electoral Area)
    Victoria is one of the nine district electoral areas in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Located in the east of the city, the district elects seven members to Belfast City Council and contains the wards of Ballyhackamore; Belmont; Cherryvalley; Island; Knock; Stormont; and Sydenham...

    (7)

The last elections to Belfast City Council were held on 5 May 2011, with the City's voters electing fifty-one councillors
Members of Belfast City Council
This is a list of the 51 members of Belfast City Council, elected at the local elections on 5 May 2011.-Electoral Wards:Belfast City Council currently comprises 51 electoral wards, nominally one for each elected councillor...

. The results are summarised below:
Party 2011 +/- 2005 2001 1997 1993 1989 1985 1981 1977 1973
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 
16 +2 14 14 13 10 8 7 0 0 0
Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

 
15 = 15 10 7 9 8 11 15 7 2
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

 
8 = 8 9 7 9 8 6 6 8 7
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland is a liberal and nonsectarian political party in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party overall, with eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and one in the House of Commons....

 
6 +2 4 3 6 5 6 8 7 13 8
Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 
3 -4 7 11 13 15 14 14 13 15 25
Progressive Unionist Party
Progressive Unionist Party
The Progressive Unionist Party is a small unionist political party in Northern Ireland. It was formed from the Independent Unionist Group operating in the Shankill area of Belfast, becoming the PUP in 1979...

 
2 = 2 3 3 1 1 1 1 0 0
Other 1 = 1 1 2 ¤ 2 6 4 9 5 †‡ 9

Notes: † Workers' Party of Ireland
Workers' Party of Ireland
The Workers' Party is a left-wing republican political party in Ireland. Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970 after a split within the party, adopting its current name in 1982....

 (1973 = 2; 1977/85/89 = 1); ‡ Unionist Party of Northern Ireland
Unionist Party of Northern Ireland
The Unionist Party of Northern Ireland was a political party founded by Brian Faulkner in September 1974.-Formation:The party emerged following splits in the Ulster Unionist Party in 1973 and 1974 over the British government's white paper Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals, the Northern...

 (1977 = 2; 1981 = 1); ¤ Ulster Democratic Party
Ulster Democratic Party
The Ulster Democratic Party was a small loyalist political party in Northern Ireland. It was established in June 1981 as the Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party by the Ulster Defence Association to replace their New Ulster Political Research Group...

 (1997 = 1)

Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor



The Lord Mayor of Belfast
Lord Mayor of Belfast
The Lord Mayor of Belfast is the leader and chairman of Belfast City Council, elected annually from and by the City's 51 councillors.The Lord Mayor is Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Féin, while the Deputy Lord Mayor is Ruth Patterson of the Democratic Unionist Party, who were elected in May 2011.The...

 is the leader and chairman of Belfast City Council and is elected annually by the Council to serve a one year term. A Deputy Lord Mayor is normally elected at the same Council meeting as the Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor is the title of the Mayor of a major city, with special recognition.-Commonwealth of Nations:* In Australia it is a political position. Australian cities with Lord Mayors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong...

. The Lord Mayor is Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, while the Deputy Lord Mayor is Ruth Patterson of the Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

, both of whom were elected in May 2011.

The Lord's Mayor's role is largely ceremonial, but does include the following powers and duties:
  • In times of natural disaster the Lord Mayor may direct resources such as Police, Fire and Ambulance as he sees fit
  • Presiding over meetings of the council and, in the case of equality of votes, the Lord Mayor has a second or casting vote
  • Promoting and raising awareness of the council’s main objectives and priority issues
  • Encouraging and supporting all aspects of life in Belfast by attending civic and public events
  • Receiving distinguished visitors to the city
  • Acting as host on behalf of the council and the citizens of Belfast at civic functions
  • Acting as a spokesperson to the local, national and international media
  • Providing an appropriate response on behalf of Belfast at times of local, national and international catastrophe
  • Supporting and encouraging charitable and other appeals as appropriate
  • Promoting Belfast's business, commercial, cultural and social life
  • Promoting Belfast as a place of excellence in which to do business and as a tourist destination.


The position that is now the Lord Mayor originated in 1613 in the town's Royal Charter as the 'Sovereign of Belfast'. In 1842, this position was restyled the 'Mayor of Belfast'. When Belfast was granted city status in 1892, the position was given Lord Mayor status, making it one of only three cities on the island of Ireland having a Lord Mayor, the other two being Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 and Dublin. In 1929, it became one of only six cities in the United Kingdom to have a Lord Mayor styled "the Right Honourable". Until 1973 the position was held for three years, when it was reduced to its current term of one year. From 1921 until 1972, the Lord Mayor was automatically entitled to a seat in the Senate of Northern Ireland
Senate of Northern Ireland
The Senate of Northern Ireland was the upper house of the Parliament of Northern Ireland created by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. It was abolished with the passing of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.-Powers:...

.

For most of the City's modern history, the position has been held by Unionists
Unionism in Ireland
Unionism in Ireland is an ideology that favours the continuation of some form of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain...

, with members of the Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 holding the post for a total of 61 of the 67 years between 1921 and 1997. The first non-Unionist Lord Mayor since the partition of Ireland
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

 in 1921 was David Cook
David Cook (politician)
David Cook is a former politician in Northern Ireland.Cook works as a solicitor, eventually becoming a senior partner at Sheldon and Stewart Solicitors....

 from the Alliance Party
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland is a liberal and nonsectarian political party in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party overall, with eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and one in the House of Commons....

 who was elected in 1978. The first nationalist Lord Mayor was not appointed until the election of Alban Maginness
Alban Maginness
Alban Maginness is a Nationalist politician in Northern Ireland.Maginness was born in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland. He completed his secondary education at St. Malachy's College, Belfast. He then attended the New University of Ulster and subsequently Queen's University of Belfast where...

 from the SDLP in 1997, while a Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 Lord Mayor was first elected in 2002. The loss of the Unionist majority on the Council in 1997 has resulted in a greater rotation of the position amongst the parties, which, like other elected positions within the Council such as Committee chairs, is now filled using the D'Hondt system. This system awards positions to parties based on their number of Councillors and means that the Council that sits from 2011 to 2015 will see the Lord Mayor post filled twice by Sinn Féin (2011-12 & 2014-15), once by the Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

 (2012-13) and once by the SDLP (2013-14). For a full list of former Sovereigns, Mayors and Lord Mayors of Belfast see Lord Mayor of Belfast
Lord Mayor of Belfast
The Lord Mayor of Belfast is the leader and chairman of Belfast City Council, elected annually from and by the City's 51 councillors.The Lord Mayor is Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Féin, while the Deputy Lord Mayor is Ruth Patterson of the Democratic Unionist Party, who were elected in May 2011.The...

.

Aldermen


The Local Government (Modification of Borough Charters) Order (Northern Ireland) 1973 entitles the Council to appoint up to twelve of its members to the honorary position of alderman
Alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

. The role of alderman is appointed at the first annual meeting following the election of the Council and does not carry any extra responsibilities other than the right to be referred to as an alderman rather than councillor. Following the local elections in 1997 and 2005 the Council voted not to appoint any of its members to the positions, however all twelve places were filled after the May 2011 election.

High Sheriff


The High Sheriff of Belfast
High Sheriff of Belfast
The High Sheriff of Belfast is a High Sheriff title and position which was created in 1900 under the Local Government Act 1898, with Sir James Henderson the first holder. It is a largely ceremonial position currently held by Ian Adamson, who took office in January 2011...

 is a largely ceremonial position currently held by Ian Adamson
Ian Adamson
Cllr Ian Adamson OBE is a former Lord Mayor of Belfast. He is a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and is a retired medical doctor.A serving Councillor on Belfast City Council from 1989 until 2011, Adamson was Lord Mayor in 1996....

, who took office in January 2011. The High Sheriff
High Sheriff
A high sheriff is, or was, a law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.In England and Wales, the office is unpaid and partly ceremonial, appointed by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council. In Cornwall, the High Sheriff is appointed by the Duke of...

 is theoretically the Queen's judicial representative in the city, while the Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant
The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representatives in the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. Usually a retired local notable, senior military officer, peer or business person is given the post...

 is the Sovereign's personal representative, however the office is now largely symbolic with few formal duties other than deputising for the Lord Mayor at official events. The position was created in 1900 under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
The Local Government Act 1898 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that established a system of local government in Ireland similar to that already created for England, Wales and Scotland by legislation in 1888 and 1889...

, with Sir James Henderson the first holder. Appointments are made on annual basis by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, informally the Northern Ireland Secretary, is the principal secretary of state in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State is a Minister of the Crown who is accountable to the Parliament of...

, who asks the outgoing High Sheriff and the Council to suggest the names of three people who are deemed suitable to hold the position. In recent years the Council has suggested only one candidate, who is normally a member of the Council. The High Sheriff's term of office runs from January to December, which is distinct from the term of office for the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor who take up office in May or June each year.

Lord Lieutenant


The Lord Lieutenant of Belfast
Lord Lieutenant of Belfast
The Lord Lieutenant of Belfast is the official representative of the Queen for the 'County Borough of Belfast', Northern Ireland. The current Lord Lieutenant is Dame Mary Peters who was appointed in August 2009. The position was first created in 1900 and was held by the Marquess of Londonderry...

 is the official representative of the Queen for the 'County Borough of Belfast'. The Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant
The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representatives in the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. Usually a retired local notable, senior military officer, peer or business person is given the post...

 is Dame Mary Peters
Mary Peters (athlete)
Dame Mary Elizabeth Peters, DBE, DL is a former British athlete, competing mainly in the pentathlon and shot put.-Biography:Mary Peters was born in Halewood, Lancashire, but moved to Ballymena at age eleven...

 who was appointed in August 2009. The position was first created in 1900 and was held by the Marquess of Londonderry
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry
Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry KG, GCVO, PC, DL, JP , styled Viscount Castlereagh between 1872 and 1884, was an Anglo-Irish Conservative politician, landowner and benefactor, who served in various capacities in the Conservative administrations of the late 19th and...

. The role is largely honorary with the few formal duties relating to liaising with the Queen's Private Office in the lead up to visits to the City regarding issues of local concern and the presentation of awards on behalf of the Queen.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies


Belfast has four coterminous constituencies for the UK Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

, which extend somewhat beyond the city boundaries into parts of Castlereagh
Castlereagh Borough Council
Castlereagh is a local government district with the status of borough in Northern Ireland. It is a largely urban borough bordering Belfast. Unusually, it has no natural borough centre, largely consisting of a series of suburbs of Belfast in the Castlereagh Hills to the south-east of the city with...

, Lisburn
Lisburn
DemographicsLisburn Urban Area is within Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area and is classified as a Large Town by the . On census day there were 71,465 people living in Lisburn...

 and Newtownabbey
Newtownabbey Borough Council
Newtownabbey Borough Council is a Local Council in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Newtownabbey has a population of over 80,000 and is on the north shore of Belfast Lough just immediately north of Belfast. The Borough was founded in 1958 as a result of an Act of Parliament passed in 1957 and...

 districts. At the 2010 UK general election, Belfast returned four MPs for the following constituencies: Belfast East
Belfast East (UK Parliament constituency)
Belfast East is a Parliamentary Constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons. The current MP is Naomi Long of the Alliance Party, elected in 2010...

 (Naomi Long, Alliance Party), Belfast South
Belfast South (UK Parliament constituency)
Belfast South is a Parliamentary Constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons.-Boundaries:The seat was created in 1922 when, as part of the establishment of the devolved Stormont Parliament for Northern Ireland, the number of MPs in the Westminster Parliament was drastically cut...

 (Alasdair McDonnell
Alasdair McDonnell
Dr Alasdair McDonnell is an Irish politician, Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and both a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and a Member of the Legislative Assembly for South Belfast. On 5 November, 2011, he was elected as the new leader of the SDLP.-Early...

, SDLP), Belfast North
Belfast North (UK Parliament constituency)
Belfast North is a Parliamentary Constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons.-Boundaries:The seat was created in 1922 when, as part of the establishment of the devolved Stormont Parliament for Northern Ireland, the number of MPs in the Westminster Parliament was drastically cut...

 (Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds
Nigel Alexander Dodds, OBE, MP, BL is a barrister and Northern Irish unionist politician. He is Member of Parliament for Belfast North, and deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. He has been Lord Mayor of Belfast twice, and from 1993 has been General Secretary of the DUP...

, DUP) and Belfast West
Belfast West (UK Parliament constituency)
Belfast West is a parliamentary constituency in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.-Boundaries:The seat was restored in 1922 when as part of the establishment of the devolved Stormont Parliament for Northern Ireland, the number of MPs in the Westminster Parliament was drastically cut...

 (Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams is an Irish republican politician and Teachta Dála for the constituency of Louth. From 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2011, he was an abstentionist Westminster Member of Parliament for Belfast West. He is the president of Sinn Féin, the second largest political party in Northern...

, Sinn Féin).

In the 2011 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Belfast returned a total of 24 MLAs (six per constituency) for the constituencies of Belfast East
Belfast East (Assembly constituency)
Belfast East is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

, Belfast South
Belfast South (Assembly constituency)
Belfast South is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

, Belfast North
Belfast North (Assembly constituency)
Belfast North is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

 and Belfast West
Belfast West (Assembly constituency)
Belfast West is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

. The results are summarised below:
Party NIA
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

 2011
+/- UK 2010 +/-
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 
8 = 1 =
Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

 
7 +1 1 -1
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

 
4 = 1 =
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland is a liberal and nonsectarian political party in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party overall, with eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and one in the House of Commons....

 
3 +1 1 +1
Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 
2 -1 0 =
Other 0 -1 0 =

Committees



The council has six committees, the members of which are appointed at the annual meeting of the council.

Each of the committees consists of 20 councillors with the quorum (the minimum number of councillors that are required to be present to transact business legally) of each committee being five members. Committees sit at least monthly with the exception of July. All committees are constituted to reflect, as far as practicable, the different political groups into which the members of the council are divided. The posts of chairman and deputy chairman of committees are allocated on the basis of the d’Hondt system of proportionality:

Minutes


Minutes of meetings of Council committees and subcommittees are available at Belfast City Council (searchable) and at Belfast NI Gov Wiki (unofficial site).

Council departments


The council has seven departments.
Department Activities | See also Link
Chief Executive's Responsible for providing support to the Lord Mayor and councillors in their roles as public representatives. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/index.asp?menuitem=chief-executives%20department
Corporate Services Responsible for human resources, financial services and information systems. Also oversees the registration of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/corporateservices.asp?menuitem=corporate
Development Responsibilities include:
- Community and play development
- Culture and heritage
- Economic development
- Events
- Physical regeneration
- Tourism
- Venue Management
St George's Market
St George's Market
St George's Market is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is located on May Street, close to the River Lagan and the Waterfront Hall. Belfast Corporation commissioned the building of St George’s Market, which was built in three phases between 1890 and 1896...

 
Ulster Hall
Ulster Hall
The Ulster Hall is a concert hall and grade B1 listed building in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Situated on Bedford Street in Belfast city centre, the hall hosts concerts, classical recitals, craft fairs and political party conferences...

 
Waterfront Hall
Waterfront Hall
The Waterfront Hall is a multi-purpose facility, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, designed by local architects' firm Robinson McIlwaine. Practice partner Peter McGukin was the project architect....

 
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/development.asp?menuitem=development
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/community/index.asp
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/culture/index.asp
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/economicdevelopment/index.asp
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events/index.asp
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/physicalregeneration/index.asp
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism/index.asp
Health and Environmental Services Works to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of all who live in the city or who come into the city each day to work or visit. Also has important waste management responsibilities, including promoting waste reduction and recycling and making arrangements for the collection, treatment and disposal of waste. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/healthandenvironment.asp?menuitem=health
Improvement Responsible for developing and delivering a single improvement and efficiency agenda for the organisation. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/improvement.asp?menuitem=improvement
Legal Services Provides comprehensive legal advice to the Council. http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/legalservices.asp?menuitem=legal
Parks and Leisure Maintain the city's green spaces and organising park events and activities. They also work to promote some of Belfast’s biggest tourist attractions and manage many of the council's major assets. Belfast Zoo
Belfast Zoo
Belfast Zoological Gardens is a zoo in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is located in a relatively secluded location on the northeastern slope of Cavehill, overlooking Belfast's Antrim Road, resulting in a uniquely tranquil environment for the animals that the zoo is frequently praised for.-About the...

 
Belfast Botanic Gardens
Belfast Botanic Gardens
Belfast Botanic Gardens is a public park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.Occupying of south Belfast, the gardens are popular with office workers, students and tourists. They are located on Stranmillis Road in Belfast's university area, with Queen's University nearby...

 
Belfast Castle
Belfast Castle
Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland in a prominent position above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough.-History:...

 
Belfast City Cemetery
Belfast City Cemetery
Belfast City Cemetery is a cemetery in west Belfast, Northern Ireland. It lies within the townland of Ballymurphy, between Falls Road and Springfield Road, near Milltown Cemetery...

 
Parks and gardens in Belfast
http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/departments/parksandleisure.asp?menuitem=parks

External links