New Stormont Executive appointed

Martin McGuinness with his new SF ministerial colleagues Chris Hazzard, Megan Fearon, Michelle O’Neill and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Martin McGuinness with his new SF ministerial colleagues Chris Hazzard, Megan Fearon, Michelle O’Neill and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir
By Conor McParland

THE make-up of the new power-sharing Executive at Stormont has been confirmed after a full ministerial team was appointed early on Wednesday afternoon.

The biggest story of the day related to the position of a Justice Minister, which was handed to independent unionist MLA Claire Sugden who succeeds Alliance leader David Ford in the post.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers had warned that a failure to appoint a Justice Minister could have resulted in fresh Assembly elections.

First Minister Arlene Foster nominated party colleagues, Simon Hamilton (Economy), Peter Weir (Education), Paul Givan (Communities) and Michelle McIlveen (Agriculture, Enviornment and Rural Affairs).

Sinn Fein’s ministerial nominees were announced on Tuesday by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with their respective ministries confirmed earlier today. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (Finance), Michelle O’Neill (Health), and Chris Hazzard (Infrastructure) will all take up positions in the new Executive.

Megan Fearon (SF) and Alastair Ross (DUP) were appointed Junior Ministers.

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “I have a mandate to deliver a fresh start for people right across the north and that more than anything that means creating jobs, lifting families out of poverty, opening up access to further education to more young people and working on a positive cross-community and cross-border basis.

“We have come a long way since I entered Belfast City Council to catcalls and worse in 1987 to today.

“But we are only starting and there is much, much more to do. My job will be to ensure we dramatically enhance the peace dividend to working class communities and deliver social justice for all.

“Of course, all of this is a huge challenge, especially given the opposition of the austerity ideologues in the Tory Government, but I am confident a united, forward-looking Executive can combine with the community to transform our society,” he added.

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