C47/18 Best Wishes
The Mayor referred to the fact that this was Councillor Hassan’s last Council Meeting prior to his retirement. He commended Councillor Hassan on the excellent work he had carried out during his twenty one years as an elected representative of Council and extended his best wishes to Councillor Hassan and his family on his retirement from Council.
Councillor Fleming expressed his Party’s appreciation for Councillor Hassan as both a political activist for forty years and a Councillor for twenty one years. He stated that Councillor Hassan had been a first point of contact for many of his constituents and had been to the fore in terms of building and developing Sinn Fein within the Greater Shantallow area. He had provided an excellent service to his constituents which was reflected in the large numbers who sought his advice on a daily basis. He made particular reference to Councillor Hassan’s passion for housing which was a key issue for many of his constituents. Councillor Fleming said that Sinn Fein as a group would miss Councillor Hassan from Council however, he would continue his work as a political activist for the Party. He concluded that Councillor Hassan was a quiet and devoted family man and he wished him well in his retirement from Council.
Councillor Tierney, on behalf of his Party, paid tribute to Councillor Hassan on the work he had carried out particularly in Shantallow. He stated that he had worked with Councillor Hassan on a number of projects within Council and there had been genuine respect on both sides as they recognised the need to adopt a joint approach in order to achieve. He said himself and his colleagues found Councillor Hassan amenable and courteous in terms of working together amidst their differing political views. He extended both his personal and his Party’s best wishes to Councillor Hassan on his retirement from Council.
Alderman McClintock referred to the massive contribution Councillor Hassan had made to Council and its electorate particularly in relation to housing development with which his name would remain associated and wished him well in his retirement.
Alderman Hussey, on behalf of his Party said the fact that Councillor Hassan had been returned to Council for 21 years was reflective of his success as an elected representative. He said he had not known Councillor Hassan prior to the merger in 2015 but had always found him to be courteous and had enjoyed a good relationship with him. He extended his best wishes to Councillor Hassan on his retirement.
Councillor Robinson echoed Members sentiments and acknowledged the work carried out by Councillor Hassan in the Shantallow and Carnhill areas.
Councillor Hassan thanked Members for their kind words. He referred to the considerable changes which had taken place since the merger of the two Councils in 2015. He said as a Member of the former Derry City Council he had felt familiar with the processes which were in place however the merger had produced an entirely new composition which introduced a new learning curve. He thanked the Chief Executive and the Senior Management Team on their hard work and efforts in bringing the merger to fruition and particularly during the immediate transition period. He referred to the significant changes facing Council particularly in terms of having assumed responsibility for planning which gave elected representative an opportunity to have an input into the regeneration of the City in terms of planning applications. He said he felt a situation had arisen whereby Council had been given real power and could influence and have a significant impact on the future development and regeneration of the City.
Councillor Hassan stated that when he had been first elected onto Council in 1997 there were 800 people on housing waiting lists. This figure however was now almost 3000 and stated that there was still insufficient housing development to address this growing problem. He referred to the need to stop building housing developments comparable to Galliagh Estate. He referred to the housing developments at Skeoge which he felt lacked infrastructure and a sense of community. He referred to the need for the situation to be continuously monitored to ensure that the necessary facilities were developed within these developments which would ultimately be considered by Council through the planning process.