McMahon is first eastern European in influential post

McMahon is first eastern European in influential post

6 June 2018

NEW council vice-chairwoman Oksana McMahon is the first eastern European to hold an elevated position within Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

Born in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, the Sinn Fein councillor represents the Crotlieve area and was co-opted last year following the election of Sinéad Ennis to the Assembly.

She has a degree in Philosophy and has studied multiple languages. She is fluent in Latin, French, English and Russian and has worked as an interpreter for a number of companies.

She said she was “extremely honoured and humbled” to be the local authority’s new deputy chair and thanked her party colleagues for putting their trust in her and being “extremely encouraging and supportive.”

Cllr McMahon continued: “This position gives me a chance to act as an ambassador for our district, promoting its work and the variety of projects that the council is involved in within the wider community. 

“It’s an important role of the council to make sure that our society is inclusive and respectful of all the cultures and ethnic minorities that made this district their home. Being in this position allows me to highlight important issues in education, health, sports and social care, as well as jobs and tourism aspects that are relevant today.”

Cllr McMahon said she was looking forward to using the opportunity to speak effectively on behalf of everyone in the area, particularly raising their concerns about Brexit and “the great uncertainty that will follow, especially among border communities.”

The vice-chairwoman also praised outgoing first citizen Roisin Mulgrew and her deputy, Willie Clarke, on their respective years in office.

“I admire their excellent team work throughout the year as they strived to help and benefit all of the people of this region. It is this example of hard work and dedication that will motivate me in my year as vice-chair.”