Who could be the next Sinn Féin leader in NI Assembly?

SF could nominate new deputy first minister if powersharing talks successful after election

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Féin (left) and Paul Givan of the DUP waiting to speak to the media after Sinn Féin’s Martin McGunniess announced his resignation as deputy first minister of the Northern Ireland Executive last week. Mr Ó Muilleoir could be a candidate for deputy first minister for Sinn Féin. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Féin (left) and Paul Givan of the DUP waiting to speak to the media after Sinn Féin’s Martin McGunniess announced his resignation as deputy first minister of the Northern Ireland Executive last week. Mr Ó Muilleoir could be a candidate for deputy first minister for Sinn Féin. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Sinn Féin could be in a position to nominate a new deputy first minister if talks on resurrecting powersharing are successful after the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election.

Here are some of the candidates.

Conor Murphy

The married father-of-two is a key member of the Sinn Féin negotiating team with particular responsibility for institutional issues and has represented the party at the Hillsborough, Leeds Castle and St Andrew’s negotiations as well as playing a key role in the Fresh Start agreement negotiated at Stormont House.

In 2005 the south Armagh man was the first from his party to be elected as MP for Newry and Armagh. He retained the seat in 2010 but returned to the Assembly in 2015.

Since then he has been a member of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. Mr Murphy chaired the Economy Committee which had been investigating the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

Michelle O’Neill

The Stormont Minister for Health has been involved in republican politics since her teens, has held various senior positions within Sinn Féin and has a background in social welfare issues.

The former agriculture minister from Mid Ulster has been a prominent face, articulating the party’s position in recent weeks since Martin McGuinness became ill.

She has worked in the Assembly since 1998, initially as political adviser to Francie Molloy before being elected to the devolved legislature in 2007 following the restoration of powersharing.

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

The relative newcomer to the Assembly is a media publisher who represents south Belfast.

He is a former lord mayor who was an advocate for greater inclusiveness in Northern Ireland’s main city.

The keen marathon runner and graduate of Queen’s University Belfast has been Minister for Finance during the short-lived current Assembly which is about to be dissolved.

He has heavily criticised the DUP over its handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive which threatens to land taxpayers with a #490 million bill.

– PA