New provost ‘honoured’ to be given chains of office

North Ayrshire provost Anthea Dickson.

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The new provost of North Ayrshire, Anthea Dickson, has said it is a ‘tremendous honour’ and privilege to have been handed the chains of office.

And she vowed to work hard to be the face of the community following her election at the first meeting of new-look North Ayrshire Council last week. Labour stalwart John Sweeney was elected depute provost

The Garnock Valley member was  first voted in following a by-election in 2008. She is the second female provost of the region, following on from Joan Sturgeon.

She said: ‘It’s a bit daunting at first when you think about taking on such a responsibility. But this is a tremendous honour and to have been more or less unanimously elected is a great vote of confidence from my fellow councillors.

‘This role is the face of the council. It’s been the encourager for all the people who are doing fantastic in North Ayrshire and it will be great to officially recognise some of that work.’

Provost Dickson added: ‘What I’ve found over the past 15 years is that every person who has been elected generally wants to make a difference. I will think about what our priorities are over the next few days.’

The new provost would like to have more women in the council and said: ‘I’m disappointed there are not more women; I would prefer it to be 50-50. Being a female provost hopefully I can encourage more women to come forward and that will be good.’

The new provost is looking forward to working with Labour stalwart John Sweeney who has been elected depute provost.

She said: ‘I’m delighted John Sweeney has been elected as I think we will have a good balance and we have worked together very well.’

As reported in last week’s Banner the council will be run as a minority SNP administration.

New council leader Irvine East councillor Marie Burns paid tribute to predecessor Joe Cullinane following her re-election to the top job.

She said: ‘I know we’ve had our differences but I would like to thank Joe for his service, especially in the last couple of of years when it’s been challenging with Covid-19.’

‘We know that further challenges lie ahead and I hope that we can all work together in order to improve the lives of our residents in every part of North Ayrshire.’

Deputy leader is Irvine West Councillor Shaun Macaulay.


North Ayrshire Council leader Marie Burns.