[Sinn Fein]

1st July 2002

Sue Ramsey to become Assembly Chief Whip

Sinn Fein West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey is to become Chief Whip of the party's Assembly team.

She will become the first woman Chief Whip of any of the major political parties and at 31, the youngest.

The move comes as part of a radical shake up of the Sinn Fein Assembly team.

She replaces Alex Maskey who has cut back on his Assembly responsibilities after being elected as the first Sinn Fein Mayor of Belfast.

Sue was elected to Lisburn Council in 1996 and as an Assembly member for West Belfast in 1998.

She is Chairperson of the Assembly All Party Group on Children, Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and the Sinn Fein lead member of the Health, Public Safety and Social Services Committee.

She party spokesperson on Health and Children and Young People.

Sue was born in Springhill in 1970 and has lived in Twinbrook since 1980.

Away from the Assembly she is a founder member of the JustUs Community Theatre Company that exists to empower the community to tell its story in its own words. She has acted in the award winning Just a Prisoners Wife, BinLids, Forced Upon Us and Murphy's Law.

She is also a member of the Twinbrook and Poleglass - now Colin Community Forum management committee and the management committee of Féile an Phobal.

Sue grew up in the turbulent times of the Hunger Strikes and shoot to kill.

She entered politics through working in the community and views `politics as an extension of community activism'.

Sue sees the role of Sinn Fein in the Assembly to challenge the status quo, to make sure that resources go two where they are most needed and to make sure that there is real accountability and value for money.

On the Public Accounts Committee Sue has spear headed many reports - not least concerns around the Events Company and hospitality freebies.

On the Health Committee Sue has instigated a major inquiry into Children's Services and has pressed to ensure greater accountability of the Health Boards and Trusts.

Other changes include:

Pat Doherty MP to replace Mick Murphy and join Gerry McHugh on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. To reflect the increasing concern that Sinn Fein has about the state of farming industry and the threats to our rural communities.

Party Chair Mitchel McLaughlin to replace Barry McElduff and join Gerry McHugh on the Education Committee. To reflect party concerns at the increasingly sectarian approach to education of some Unionist MLA's.

Barry McElduff and Michelle Gildernew MP to form a new team on the Employment and Learning Committee - replacing John Kelly and Mary Nelis.

Mary Nelis joining Gerry Kelly on the Social Development Committee - Gerry Kelly to remain Deputy Chair.

Mary Nelis to move to the Environment Committee, joining Francie Molloy.

John Kelly to become the new Deputy Chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee (replacing Mary Nelis) where he is joined by Mick Murphy.

Pat McNamee and Dr Dara O'Hagan to join Barry McElduff on the Committee of the centre - replacing Alex Maskey and Conor Murphy.

Mick Murphy replaces Pat McNamee as a member of the Standards and Privileges Committee.

Conor Murphy to replace Sue Ramsey as Deputy Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.

ETI Committee membership - Chair Pat Doherty and Dara O'Hagan remain the same.

Finance and Personnel Committee membership - Chair Francie Molloy and Alex Maskey remain the same.

Health Committee membership - Sue Ramsey and John Kelly remain the same.

Sue Ramsey will keep the Children and Young People Brief

Pat McNamee will take on the Equality brief alongside his Human Rights brief.

Conor Murphy will fill the new role of group leader.

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