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Outgoing Derry and Strabane Mayor defends his choice not to meet Prince Charles

The new mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council has been elected.

Maolíosa McHugh, the outgoing mayor, has been widely criticised for not meeting Prince Charles when he visited last October.

Prince Charles, who visited Derby in October to meet victims of severe flooding, was snubbed by then-Mayor McHugh.

McHugh, who is a member of Sinn Féin, refused to meet the Prince of Wales in protest of the 1972 Bloody Sunday. Mayor McHugh says he refuses to meet Prince Charles because of his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment.

At the time, Mayor McHugh said that he recognised the “positive contribution made by members of the British Royal family to the search for reconciliation and the need for greater understanding of the different narratives.”

However, he added that he believed meeting Prince Charles would be “premature” because of the “ongoing and unresolved sensitive” because of the legacy of the massacre.

The outgoing mayor was criticised by unionist councillors yesterday for “not being a mayor at all.”

However, McHugh has said he has “no regrets” over refusing to meet Prince Charles.

An independent councillor, Maurice Deveney, said that Mayor McHugh damaged community relations. Noting that “People from both sides were affected but Maolíosa couldn’t reach out.”

As well as not meeting Prince Charles, Maolíosa McHugh also cast the deciding vote in snubbing the Buckingham Palace garden party invite.

When it came to the vote, fifteen councillors voted for and fifteen against accepting the invitation. Mayor McHugh used his vote to vote against, which meant that the council did not send any representatives at all to the Summer Garden Party.

Commenting to Royal Central at the time, DUP councillor David Ramsey said that the party was “disgusted that the council have declined a civic invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.”

He added that it was a snub to only to the event but “all the unionist and British citizens” of the area.

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