THE Alliance Party's Micky Murray has been co-opted into the South Belfast Council seat left vacant by former Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl on her election to the Stormont Assembly.

Cllr Murray will represent Balmoral on Belfast City Council. Also as part of the Alliance's post-election reshuffle, Councillor Fiona Cole has been co-opted into the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council seat left vacant on the election of Sorcha Eastwood to the Assembly. 

Speaking after his co-option, Cllr Murray said: “I am so proud to have been selected and promise to be a dedicated representative for everyone in Balmoral.

“Since 2016, I have had the absolute pleasure of working for Paula Bradshaw MLA as her constituency officer, supporting the constituents of South Belfast with everything from missed bin collections to planning queries.

"I'm very aware of the shoes I'm trying to fill, Kate Nicholl MLA was a fantastic Councillor and an unbelievable Lord Mayor. This isn't lost on me and I will work every day to make sure I'm stepping up to the mark that Kate, and Paula before her, have set.” 

Cllr Cole added: “It is exciting to be representing the community I live in with my family and to be given the opportunity to build a better future. 

“With ten years of professional experience in campaigns, policy and public affairs, I have a good knowledge of Council and I know I can use this experience to the benefit of my constituents."

This week, Kate Nicholl MLA gave birth to the baby daughter – Étain Evelyn – who she had been carrying while on the election trail.