A popular Newry city councillor who topped the polls in his first election in 2019 says he won’t be standing again in May.
Independent Councillor Gavin Malone, says it was an “honour” and “privilege” but now “I want to be present with the people who have given so much to me; my beautiful wife Geraldine and my brilliant children”.
Councillor Malone was elected on first count with 23.19% of the vote in 2019 – topping the poll in his home city.
Announcing his decision on social media, Councillor Malone said “it is a challenge to find the right words to describe the last four years”.
“Being elected in May 2019 as an Independent Councillor for Newry was an honour and probably one of the proudest and most humbling moments of my life,” he wrote.
“Four years have flown by and I have done my best to make every moment count. I have learned so much and given everything I could to enable me to serve a political term. I loved it all. And I gave it my best.
“Taking the leap in 2019 to stand was a momentous decision for me. I heard myself reported on the local news with the headline, ‘From bin man to councillor’. And that summed me up.
“I hope that my journey will inspire anyone out there, reach for your dreams, you define your own life, do not let others write your story. Do not wait until life gives you perfect conditions to begin. Beginning is what makes the conditions right.
“In 2019 I took a decision that changed my life. The people I have met over the last four years have been incredible. The friends I have made. I have been humbled beyond belief by the kindness of others and elevated beyond expectation by the hard work perseverance and determination of so many.
“I have had the honour of sharing in other people’s lives and I am in awe of how many ordinary people are out there achieving extraordinary things, for themselves, their families, their friends and others.
“I appreciate every single person who put their trust in me. Every colleague who shared their skills and expertise. Every person who told me their story. It was my privilege to serve you all.
“My wonderful family have been my rock, they have been supportive and they have been patient. Time goes by so quickly. And now it is their time. I want to be present with the people who have given so much to me, my beautiful wife Geraldine and my brilliant children.
“Moving forward I will be concentrating on work and family. I cant give everything I have to the role of councillor but there will be others who can and I wish them well. My only request to all of you, is, come May 2023, vote.
Every vote counts. Think about the world you want, for yourself, for the people you love, for your family, your friends.
Councillor Malone described the last four years as “the time of my life”.
“Stepping back I take with me a great sense of pride and the deepest heartfelt appreciation of the opportunity you gave me. I learned so much about myself and about others. I learned that we all have so much more in common that we have things that make us different. We are all people. We all want the best for ourselves and for those we love and I hope by continuing to work together we can keep moving forward making a better world.
“Thanks for everything. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life and I wish you all well. Thank you all so much.”