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West Belfast woman is new Junior Minister

Jennifer lands top Stormont role

By Francesca Ryan

West Belfast MLA Jennifer McCann is Sinn Féin’s new Junior Minister at the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. Jennifer will take over from Martina Anderson, who is Strasbourg-bound as the party’s newest MEP.

The news came this week amidst a reshuffle for the party that was aimed at putting an end to double-jobbing.  Martin McGuinness announced he would resign as MP for Mid-Ulster to concentrate on Stormont, while Sinn Fein’s four other MPs, including West Belfast’s Paul Maskey, are to resign their Assembly seats.

“I am delighted to have been asked by the party to serve as a Junior Minister,” said Jennifer yesterday.  “Sinn Féin are about bringing about change and about delivering equality. This is our approach in government.

Disadvantaged

“I have a background in working with some of the most vulnerable in our society and in one of the most disadvantaged areas in the North. Government needs to work for people and communities like this, especially now in the face of sweeping Tory-imposed welfare reforms and a massive cut in the block grant.”

The Colin MLA said she is ready to take up where her party colleagues left off and face any challenges that may arise.

“I am committed to building on the work carried out in the previous term by Gerry Kelly and more recently by Martina across a range of issues,” she said.  “These include the inquiry into institutional abuse, bringing a conclusion to the CSI (Cohesion, Sharing and Integration) strategy and driving forward investment through the Barrosso taskforce.

“We are facing into challenging times for politics on this island and as a part of a ministerial, Assembly and all-Ireland team, I believe that we are ideally placed to meet the many challenges which will undoubtedly lie ahead,” added Jennifer.

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