Make it work!

Make it work!

May 29, 2016 Blog 0 Comments
As I was leaving the Queen’s Park Run in South Belfast on Saturday morning, a recuperating runner stopped his car and rolled down his window to congratulate me on my appointment as Finance Minister in the powersharing executive at Stormont.
And he had a message for me — and for all of us — “Make it work”.
That’s a challenge I’m up for.

As part of the strong, 28-member-strong Sinn Féin team returned in the Assembly elections, I have a mandate as Finance Minister to deliver a fresh start for people right across the north.

With Trevor Greer and Garnet Busby of the Sandy Row Social Enterprise Hub on day of my appointment.
With Trevor Greer and Garnet Busby of the Sandy Row Social Enterprise Hub on day of my appointment.

And that, more than anything, 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. It certainly means boosting young entrepreneurs and growing the funding ‘pie’ available to me by attracting investment and support from home and abroad on the basis of the compelling offering and unbeatable opportunity we offer.

We have come a long way since 1987 when, sporting a flak jacket, I entered Belfast City Council to catcalls and worse.
But despite the strides forward, my firm view is that we are only starting.
There is much, much more to do.
Of course, none of this will be easy, especially given the opposition of the austerity ideologues in the Tory Government, but I am confident a united, forward-looking Executive can combine with our people to transform our society.
Le Gearóid & Aisling, ceannródaithe pobail, sa Chultúrlann
Le Gearóid & Aisling, ceannródaithe pobail, sa Chultúrlann

On the way to Stormont to accept my appointment on Wednesday, I stopped off at Sandy Row, a strong loyalist area in the heart of Belfast, to meet local leaders spearheading the transformation of a proud community  which has been ravaged by poverty and joblessness. Yesterday, I was in Ireland’s greatest Irish language centre An Chultúrlann on the famed Falls Road, an enterprise which has bold plans for expansion. ’Ná habair é – déan é’ (‘don’t say it, do it’) is in the DNA of the leaders I met but they — and so many others across the north — could scale even greater heights if a united government was clearing the path for them and providing them with the resources they need to build a brighter future.
That’s our mission.
Let’s make it work!

About the Author

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir is the outgoing Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast and a civic activist in Belfast.