Northern Ireland

Former lord mayor Kate Nicholl dedicates mayoral portrait painted while she was pregnant to the midwives of Belfast

Former Alliance lord mayors of Belfast Michael Long and Kate Nicholl
Former Alliance lord mayors of Belfast Michael Long and Kate Nicholl

A portrait of former lord mayor Kate Nicholl while she was pregnant has been unveiled at city hall and which she has dedicated to the midwives of Belfast.

The Alliance MLA, who previously served as a councillor, gave birth to her daughter Etain in May 2022 shortly after leaving office.

The baby's birth also came just weeks after Ms Nicholl was elected as an MLA for South Belfast following last year's assembly elections.

She had canvassed while heavily pregnant and went on to take the seat of Green Party leader Clare Bailey.

Sharing a photograph on social media of her with her daughter looking at the painting, Ms Nicholl wrote: "Look that's us".

Ms Nicholl, who is originally from Zimbabwe, had became Belfast's first citizen in June 2021 and served until May 2022.

The portrait of Ms Nicholl, which was produced by Coalisland-based artist Catherine Creaney, was unveiled at City Hall on Monday alongside a picture of her party colleague Michael Long.

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He had taken over for the last few weeks of her term and became the city's shortest serving lord mayor. His brief term in office is marked with a photograph from his installation.

Both portraits now hang in the corridors of City Hall beside pictures of previous lord mayors.

Current Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ryan Murphy, said: “Creating a visual record of a lord mayor’s time in office is a long-standing tradition here in Belfast, and these portraits are important reminders of how our city has changed and diversified over the years.

“They are viewed multiple times daily on free public tours of City Hall and are widely regarded as adding to the building’s rich history.

“Every new portrait adds further to this unique collection of public art, as well as continuing to give local artists the chance to showcase their skills and talent and have the opportunity for their work to be seen by thousands of visitors each year."