Friday 28 April 2017

Sinn Fein figures who could be nominated for deputy first minister post

The contenders Michelle O'Neill, Conor Murphy and Mairtin O Muilleoir
The contenders Michelle O'Neill, Conor Murphy and Mairtin O Muilleoir

Sinn Fein could be in a position to nominate a new deputy first minister if talks on resurrecting power-sharing are successful. Here are some of the candidates

Conor Murphy:

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The married father of two is a key member of the Sinn Fein negotiating team with particular responsibility for institutional issues and has represented the party at the Hillsborough, Leeds Castle and St Andrew's negotiations as well as playing a key role in the Fresh Start agreement negotiated at Stormont House.

In 2005 the south Armagh man was the first from his party to be elected as MP for Newry and Armagh. He retained the seat in 2010 but returned to the Assembly in 2015.

Since then he has been a member of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. Mr Murphy chaired the Economy Committee which had been investigating the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

Michelle O'Neill:

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The Stormont health minister has been involved in republican politics from her teens, has held various senior positions within Sinn Fein and has a background in social welfare issues.

The former agriculture minister from Mid Ulster has been a prominent face articulating the party's position in recent weeks since Martin McGuinness became ill.

She has worked in the Assembly since 1998, initially as political adviser to Francie Molloy before being elected to the devolved legislature in 2007 following the restoration of power sharing.

Mairtin O Muilleoir:

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The relative newcomer to the Assembly is a media publisher who represents south Belfast.

He is a former Lord Mayor who was an advocate for greater inclusiveness in Northern Ireland's main city.

The keen marathon runner and graduate of Queen's University Belfast has been finance minister during the short-lived current Assembly which is about to be dissolved.

He has heavily criticised the DUP over its handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive which threatens to land taxpayers with a £490 million bill.

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