The Shire Reeve's Tale: 27

On 11th May, 2011, the following article by Rebecca Black appeared in the News-Letter of Belfast. The Ulster Unionist Party membership of Belfast City Council had been reduced to three out of 51 members, with the subsequent symbolic loss of the Unionist capital. The collapse of the UUP's vote in Belfast left fewer unionist councillors than nationalists for the first time in Northern Ireland's 90-year old history.

Unionist veteran hangs up his robe

After 22 years, one of the great characters of Belfast City Hall will hang up his robe for good.

East Belfast Ulster Unionist Councillor Dr Ian Adamson lost his seat after one of the longest counts of these council elections.

Although it came down to Dr Adamson and DUP newcomer John Hussey, the retired doctor and historian lost out at the expense of the Alliance Party, which gained another representative in the Victoria District Electoral Area.

Dr Adamson was first elected to the City Council in 1989 and was Lord Mayor in 1996.

As well as a career in paediatrics at the Royal Victoria Hospital and later the Ulster Hospital, Dr Adamson speaks 10 languages and has authored several books on history and religion.

He also served on the Northern Ireland Assembly for East Belfast between 1998 and 2003 but Dr Adamson’s political career came to an end at 10 pm on Monday when he was eliminated after a long count.

There was muted respect from a mixed crowd of DUP and PUP representatives who also stayed to the end as Dr Adamson left in a quiet, dignified manner with his wife Kerry.

A security guard waiting patiently to lock up City Hall after the late night count was also surprised to see the end of Dr Adamson’s career, remarking “He’s like part of the furniture around here. He’s been here for as long as I can remember.”

Dr Adamson will continue as High Sheriff until next January as that role is appointed by the Northern Ireland Office.

Ed: My mother served on North Down council for 17 years, and she was considered long-serving. Heeding the call of his Party, Ian Adamson came back for more after 22 years. I'm sure that many will wish Ian well, not least the readers and Editor of the Impala Publications blog.

Read an impressive recent political speech of Ian's in On Political Selection Speeches, by Councillor Dr Ian Adamson OBE, Saturday, February 19. 2011

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