The New Executive

With today's announcement by the DUP we now know who will be Ministers and what position they will be taking up.

In reality this was not any great secret however the one surprise was the UUP choice of Michael McGimpsey over Danny Kennedy or Alan McFarland.

Perhaps Mr McFarland's "extra curricular activities" didn't sit well with Cunningham House.

The full line up will be

Ian Paisley: First Minister
Martin McGuinness: Deputy First Minister

Gerry Kelly: Junior Minister in DFMDFM

Ian Óg: Junior Minister in DFMDFM

Conor Murphy: Minister of Regional Development
Michelle Gildernew: Minister of Agriculture
Caitriona Ruane: Minister of Education

Peter 'the punt' Robinson: Minister of Finance
Nigel Dodds: Minister of Enterprise Trade and Investment
Arlene Foster: Minister for Environment
Edwin Poots: Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure

Reg Empey: Minister for Higher Learning
Michael McGimpsey: Minister for Health
Margaret Ritchie: Minister of Social Development

I am very glad with the choices that we made.

Conor will have responsibility for Rural Planning and Water Rates, very important issues in South Armagh and across the 6 counties.

Caitriona will have a massive job of work and big boots to fill as Martin McGuinness did an excellent job as Minister for Education the last time.

I hope that the party don't do a deal with the DUP in relation to Academic Selection in return for an Irish language act. Irish language speakers are entitled to demand proper legislation and the Brits gave a promise at St Andrews however we have the power to keep Academic Selection out.

The fact that the 11+ is already gone ensures that there can be no form of Academic Selection unless we agree to it.

We owe it to our children and especially to kids in areas like the Shankhill to ensure that they get a proper education.

We need to make sure that the cycle of poverty that these children find themselves in ends.

Let battle commence!

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