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Máirtín Ó Muilleoir takes leave of politics

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

By Irish Echo Staff

The Irish Echo’s chairman, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, is saying goodbye to a political career that began at a time when politics in Northern Ireland was a very risky business.

Ó Muilleoir’s future will now be focused on business which, of course, comes with its own inherent risks.

Ó Muilleoir began his time in politics as a Sinn Féin member of Belfast City Council. He was ejected from the council chamber for daring to speak Irish.

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Times would improve for politics in the North and its practitioners and in more recent years Ó Muilleoir was variously Lord Mayor Belfast, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for South Belfast, and the governing executive’s finance minister.

The power sharing Executive has been mothballed since January, 2017 though talks are now underway aimed at getting it up and running again.

Ó Muilleoir, a runner in the literal sense who has completed numerous marathons, including New York’s, reckons it’s time to leave the political running to a “newer generation.”

“Mr. Ó Muilleoir is a high-profile Sinn Féin representative, having served both as finance minister in the assembly and lord mayor in Belfast City Council,” the BBC reported.

Also taking leave of politics is Sinn Féin ex-junior minister Megan Fearon, whose career began as Stormont's youngest MLA at age 20. She will no longer represent Newry and Armagh in the Assembly.

In a joint statement issued with his party, Mr. Ó Muilleoir said: "It has been the greatest privilege of my life to represent the people of south and west Belfast for Sinn Féin in both City Hall and Stormont.

"But it is now time for me to hand over to a representative of a newer generation of republican activists.

"I want to thank all of those who have given me their support and assure them that I will remain a determined advocate of a better Belfast and a new and united Ireland."