Sinn Féin John Finucane elected mayor of Belfast

No doubt the election as mayor of Belfast of Sinn Féin John Finucane, son of murdered lawyer Pat Finucane, is one of those moments to call historic. 

It was emotionally strong and moving to see John Finucane, a lawyer himself taking possession of his new charge and saying: "I am the product of an east Belfast mother who grew up in a middle class unionist area and a west Belfast father who grew up in a Catholic working class area."

The new mayor added: "I live and have grown up in north Belfast, I have seen both sides of this city. I am a republican, I have family members who are unionist, I have family members who are neither of the two, and I think that diversity can only make our city stronger, because certainly I have felt the benefit of that particular upbringing."

Earlier this month Mr Finucane won a council seat as a Sinn Fein candidate and under an agreement by the main political parties, he has been elected the the post of city Mayor.

Like his murdered father, Mr Finucane is a human rights lawyer. Pat Finucane was 39 years of age when was shot dead by a death squad in front of his wife and children in 1989.

His wife Geraldine was wounded in the attack, while John and his sister Katherine and brother Michael hid under a table as their father was shot 14 times.

The family's decades-long legal battle with the British government for a full public inquiry into the killing continues despite earlier agreements to hold one.

"I feel very comfortable in my own politics, - said Finucane - that it doesn't cause me any discomfort to go into areas, where I have been invited, to go into areas and show that a Sinn Fein mayor is not something to be feared. Because first and foremost, especially given my own personal background, I know that we need representation that represents everybody, and we can't be partial."

He also said that he would not allow his year as mayor to be dominated by his past, but he added that he hoped his late father would be proud.

The rotation of Belfast's mayor post will see the DUP take the spot in 2020, the Alliance Party in 2021 and Sinn Fein again in 2022.