FERMANAGH’S councillors have been querying what it is the High Sheriff of the county does after the Council chairman reluctantly agreed to write a letter of congratulations to the new holder of the post.
The current High Sheriff of Fermanagh is Belleek Pottery boss, John Maguire, who took over from former High Sheriff Selwyn Johnston at the beginning of the year. During the February meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last Tuesday, chairman Cllr Stephen McCann stated he’d been asked to write a letter of congratulations to Mr Maguire.
“Both myself and my party do have views in relation to such appointment and have views around the unaccountable and unelected nature of such roles,” said Cllr McCann.
“I am aware, however, there are different views around such appointments and it would be disrespectful for me to completely disregard those views on that basis, in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect, I will ask officials to bring forward a letter for my consideration to be signed on behalf of the Council.”
His Sinn Fein colleague Cllr Sheamus Greene then asked: “Could someone please explain exactly what these high sheriffs do, and is there any cost?”
Cllr Alex Baird, said he knew a little about the role: “There is no pay for it, in actual fact it’s a cost to the person who takes the honour on. It gives them a certain standing for a year within the area. If the High Court meets in the area they accompany the High Court judge. That’s about as much as I know.”
The role of High Sheriff is ceremonial and, as well as High Court judges, the holder is also responsible for welcoming members of the royal family and generally acts as a form of ambassador for the county.
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