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5 April 2007 Edition

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Sinn Féin Ministers Party prepares for government

Sinn Féin announced on Wednesday which Ministers would take up responsibility for which departments when the political institutions in the Six Counties go live on 8 May.
Speaking at a press conference outside Stormont the nominee for the position of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced that Michelle Gildernew will take up responsibility for Agriculture and Rural Development, Caitríona Ruane will take over Education and Conor Murphy will become the Minister responsible for Regional Development. Gerry Kelly is to become a Junior Minister within the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.
“Over the next number of weeks as a Ministerial team we will meet with our departments and even more importantly we will meet with groups and individuals with a special interest or contribution to make in these areas. We want to listen to people and learn from their experience so that we will all hit the ground running on 8 May”, McGuinness said.
“We are looking forward to working with the other parties in the Executive and the Assembly as we seek to deliver for people across our society.
“Sinn Féin is about bringing about change and about delivering equality. This will be our approach in government. We are facing into exciting 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”, he said.
On Monday, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said that since the Sinn Féin/DUP agreement to restore the political insititutions by 8 May, the parties had discussed the next steps necessary to ensure that the Ministers, Assembly and all of the committees are in place and ready to take over the running of government.
“Our primary responsibility in the next five weeks is to identify and clear away any problems which may exist, and to be as well prepared for government as we can be”, Adams said.
Meanwhile Alex Maskey is to take over from Gerry Kelly as Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Policing and Justice issues.
The party has also agreed its panel of Chairs and Vice-Chairs for Committees and Sinn Féin representatives for the Policing Board. These will be announced in due course.
“It is clear that all of the parties are determined to restore the political institutions and to take up the many challenges that face people in their daily lives” Adams said.
He went on:
“It is now our collective responsibility to deliver on services for the elderly, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, as well as developing and delivering programmes of work to rebuild our infrastructure and economy.
“In the election Sinn Féin made 10 commitments covering issues like the expansion of the all-Ireland agenda; the economy; the promotion of equality; rural affairs; policing and justice; housing and health; education and the environment.
“In government Sinn Féin will work to deliver on these commitments.
“Sinn Féin is also an all-Ireland party. Our goal is a united Ireland. We place equal emphasis and importance on all parts of this island. And in the time ahead I will be focussing more of my energy of our efforts in the south. “This is a time of great opportunity.
“I am confident that the Sinn Féin team will deliver on the commitments we made in the recent election.”
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