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Alex Maskey is new Assembly Speaker

Alex Maskey was the first Sinn Féin councillor and later first republican Lord Mayor of the city Alex Maskey was the first Sinn Féin councillor and later first republican Lord Mayor of the city
By Ciara Quinn

WEST Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has been appointed Speaker of the Stormont Assembly following the end of the three-year Executive close-down.
Sinn Féin and the DUP re-entered devolved government on Friday after the two main parties supported a deal to restore the political institutions in the north following its collapse in January 2017.
Speaking in the Assembly to nominate Mr Maskey, Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill said: “It is my pleasure to nominate my friend and colleague Alex Maskey for the position of Speaker of the Assembly. Alex Maskey is someone whose professionalism, dedication and commitment has embodied his involvement in politics for decades. A tireless and fearless advocate of those most in need in our society, Alex had always provided a voice for everyone. As a key figure in the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement, and in subsequent negotiations, Alex has demonstrated a commitment to encouraging dialogue and discussion. Serving as a committee chair, he provided a platform for debate, getting business done and maintaining order showing no fear or favour to anyone. Alex Maskey will bring his enormous experience to the position of Speaker and will act at all times with determined professionalism and impartially.
“Alex Maskey will bring his enormous experience to the position of Speaker and will act at all times with determined professionalism and impartiality.”
During Saturday’s sitting, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy was appointed as Finance Minister, DUP MLA Peter Weir as Education Minister, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long will serve as Justice Minister and Robin Swann as Health Minister. Former DUP MEP Diane Dodds will take up the role of Economy Minister, DUP MLA Edwin Poots will take up the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs portfolio and SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon will become Minister for Infrastructure. Former Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey has been appointed Minister for the Department for Communities.

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