Home Celebrities Kenyan Woman From Narok Makes History As First Black Mayor In Ireland

Kenyan Woman From Narok Makes History As First Black Mayor In Ireland

Lilian Seenoi-Barr was presented with the chains of office on Monday, June 3,2024 at Guildhall, Derry City. Photo: BBC

Lilian Seenoi-Barr’s name goes down in history as Northern Ireland’s first black mayor and the only third on the island of Ireland.

Barr was installed as mayor of the Foyleside area of Derry City and Strabane On Monday, June 3 2024.

Accompanied by a delegation of five Kenyan political representatives including Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, she received the mayoral chain of office in a handing-over ceremony at Guildhall, Derry City.

The Narok-born politician who arrived in Londonderry 14 years ago as a refugee celebrated her accomplishment, saying that it was an honour to achieve first citizen status.

“If you told me that I would become the first citizen of the second city, I would not have believed you,” she told the chamber.

Becoming mayor for Barr was a culmination of years of dedication and service to her community having been a councillor for the Foyleside ward since 2021.

“Originally from Narok, Kenya, Lilian has dedicated her life to championing human rights, social justice and community cohesion. With a background in social work, community development and social policy, Lilian has been instrumental in fostering integration and understanding among diverse communities in Northern Ireland,” read the introductory notes.

Barr affirmed her commitment to working hard in her representation of her community, and that she would maintain an open door policy to all.

“It is our time to build a more inclusive, prosperous and vibrant Derry City and Strabane District Council, under the banner of unity and progressive change,” she said.

The newly appointed mayor has had experience in service to the community, as before her move to Northern Ireland, she was an advocate of women’s rights in the Maasai community.

According to Barr, that came with a lot of risk, putting a target on her back for fighting traditional tribal practices of early marriage and female genital mutilation, which led her to flee.

After arriving in the United Kingdom as a refugee she set up her charity named the North West Migrants Forum, in 2012 which offered support to migrants and asylum seekers.

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