Hamilton appointed as Northern Ireland’s Minister for Finance
The DUP MLA for the Strangford constituency has replaced Sammy Wilson
Simon Hamilton, who has been appointed the new Minister of Finance and Personnel for Northern Ireland
A 36-year-old former auditor with PwC in Belfast has been appointed as Northern Ireland’s new Minister for Finance.
Simon Hamilton, the DUP MLA for the Strangford constituency, has replaced Sammy Wilson who had been the North’s Minister for Finance and Personnel since 2009.
Mr Wilson, the MP for east Antrim, had been widely expected to step down from the role in advance of a ban that will prevent Northern Ireland politicians from holding two jobs as an MLA and an MP.
Business leaders have paid tribute to Mr Wilson’s record as minister. Although well-known for his direct, no-nonsense approach, he successfully championed key local issues and won the respect of the business community.
Mr Hamilton, originally from Strangford, was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007. He is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and holds a BA hons in modern history and politics and a BLegSc in law.
He began his working life as an auditor with PwC in Northern Ireland where he spent just over two years before becoming a press officer with the DUP.
In 2011, he was appointed by the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson as assembly private secretary to Sammy Wilson. His job was to assist the minister and learn the ropes.
Yesterday Mr Robinson said as a former finance minister himself no one appreciated more the “challenges and magnitude of the job”. He paid tribute to Mr Wilson’s “excellent stewardship” and said he would continue to “make a positive contribution” to the DUP.
Mr Robinson added: “I am delighted to appoint Simon Hamilton as Northern Ireland’s new Finance Minister.
“Since becoming an MLA in 2007, Simon has demonstrated his tremendous capability and hardworking mindset in various positions both inside and outside the Assembly. I know he will make an excellent contribution to the Department of Finance and the work of the Executive.”
Meanwhile, the North’s new Minister for Finance said he was also looking forward to the role and took the opportunity yesterday to highlight that he had “garnered invaluable experience and guidance” during his former position with Mr Wilson.
Mr Hamilton said: “I am committed to working with my ministerial colleagues in following through on the opportunities offered by the economic pact and in pursuing a programme of public sector reform to enhance the quality of services to the public and to improve efficiency.”