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Council chief executive's wig and gown raises eyebrows

Mid and East Antrim mayor Billy Ashe, CEO Anne Donaghy at celebratory dinner with Michael O'Neill and Steven Davis

THE sight of one of the new super council's chief executives clad in a wig and gown reminiscent of a barrister has raised a few eyebrows.

Anne Donaghy was pictured along with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council mayor Billy Ashe, flanking Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill and captain Steven Davis at a dinner to honour the successful team.

A council spokesman said Ms Donaghy's robe was a "traditional" one which is "made available to wear on civic and ceremonial occasions".

Dignitaries including the mayor, deputy mayor, aldermen, councillors, as well as the clerk and chief executive (Ms Donaghy) each have one to be worn "when receiving significant guests into the borough, at special and public ceremonial functions of council, or when royalty are present".

"The number of times the robes are worn in a year can vary, depending on the civic calendar," the spokesman said.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council made the decision to retain and reuse the civic insignia of the predecessor councils of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne "to preserve and reflect the rich history and heritage of the predecessor councils".

"Traditionally, the clerk would be attired in a robe and wig for civic occasions," the spokesman said.

"In Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the clerk choose to re-use the gown and wig previously worn by the Ballymena Borough Council Town Clerk."

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