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Cally Councillor, Una O’Halloran, is elected Mayor of Islington

May 12, 2017
Una and Ray

Una, pictured with husband Ray, has promised to “throw herself into the role”

At the Council’s Annual Meeting on May 11th, Cally Councillors, Rupert Perry and Paul Convery expressed great pride as Una O’Halloran became Mayor of Islington for the year 2017-18.

Una said “Islington is a fantastic borough and the mayor has the privilege of meeting a wide range of people and community organisations, experiencing first-hand some of the great work that they do.”

Una has picked as her chosen charity for the year, the Angel Shed Theatre, an inclusive theatre company providing opportunities for children and young people across Islington to participate in performing arts.

Rupert and Paul spoke to nominate Una at the Council’s formal civic gathering. In his nominating speech Paul said:

“I am proud to nominate my ward colleague, good comrade and friend. Una is a Councillor who has the deepest personal roots in this Borough. Finsbury born and bred. Schooled here, grew up here, worked here, lived here. Married to Ray for 32 years, they’ve raised 2 great kids. Here in this Borough.

“As a council tenant, a community activist for many years, Una personifies what some people call “old Islington”. The Borough that is remembered of 30 or 40 years ago. ‘Old Islington’ was a diverse place like modern Islington. And Una comes from one of the largest groups of migrants who settled here half a century ago: London’s Irish population. The hundreds of thousands who left Ireland in the 50s and 60s. Who left the social austerity and economic depression of that island. People who came to, literally, rebuild Britain in the couple of decades after the war.

“Una’s parents were of that generation. They settled here and raised their family, contributed to the prosperity of the age and benefitted from it too. Una carries the values of those working class Londoners and Islingtonians from Ireland. Rooted in her faith and community, the words I use to describe Una are simple ones:

  • hard working
  • honest
  • fair minded
  • passionate about her place and its people
  • deeply committed to serving others
  • feet on the ground when others sometimes have our heads in the clouds

“People in political life today search for ‘authenticity’. With Una, there’s no need for that. With Una, that quality is natural, unaffected, sincere. These are the qualities that make for an outstanding Mayor.

“Four or five years ago I had known Una by sight and by reputation. She was a GMB workplace representative, she chaired her TRA, the local Housing Panel and the Safer Neighbourhood committee. Indeed Una had been in the world of local politics for a long time. She recounts first going out canvassing aged 10 with her father, the late Joseph McKenna. Wearing a red rosette, of course.

“And I came to know Una because she was very active in the campaign to save Clerkenwell Fire Station. Indeed, Una had a distinctive personalised placard showing a handful of coins representing the few pence per week that Boris Johnson would cut from the Mayoral precept by slashing the fire brigade budget and closing 13 fire stations.

“But it was only when we began to seek out a candidate for the 2014 elections (Cally had an obvious vacancy with Charlynne standing down). It didn’t take long to spot Una. And I recall meeting her in one of Cally’s landmark cafes, Dallas Burger Bar. We had a cup of tea and a long talk. But within minutes I could see that Una would get on great in Cally. And Cally would get on great with Una. And so it has turned out.

“So, it’s right, proper and fitting that this born and bred Finsbury Islingtonian should now step forward to be nominated as Mayor. We shall all be very, very proud.”

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