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Conor Murphy returns to role as NI economy minister

Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy has returned to his role as Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister following a sickness absence.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill thanked Deirdre Hargey, who had stepped into the position for three weeks while Mr Murphy was absent.

It was announced earlier this month that he was to step down temporarily on medical grounds.

Mr Murphy was unable to give evidence in person to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry as he had been advised by doctors to rest.

Ms O’Neill said that he was looking forward to getting back to his desk.

“Conor is one of the most experienced ministers in the Executive and it’s great to have him back after a break on the advice of his doctors,” she said.

“He is focused on getting back to creating jobs and promoting the benefits of our all-island economy and our unique dual market access to the European and British economies.

“Conor set out his economic vision for the department when he took up office in February.

“He will continue the work of reforming Invest NI, the expansion of Magee, and the promotion of news skills initiatives and the Tourism Action Plan.”

The First Minister added: “I also want to say a huge thank you to Deirdre Hargey who stepped up without a moment’s hesitation into the role of Economy Minister when Conor was forced to step aside.

“Deirdre once again proved to be an able minister who did a great job and I’m really grateful for the work she has done for all over the last number of weeks.

“There is much work to do, and I wish Conor all the very best as he gets down to working with others to deliver on the Executive’s economic priorities to build a better future for all.”

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