Belfast Telegraph

Political career has come full circle

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD

Mairtin O Muilleoir’s political career has come full circle.

He was elected as a member of Belfast City Council in 1987 and served for 10 years before stepping down to concentrate on his business career.

But he re-entered politics in 2011 and earlier this year was appointed Lord Mayor of Belfast.

The theme for his year in office is Building The Future Belfast — Together.

Born in 1959, he is a graduate of Queen's University, Belfast.

An Irish language activist, he changed his name by deed poll into Irish.

His political career began in the mid-80s when he stood as a council candidate for the Lower Falls ward.

He was unsuccessful, but was voted in after a by-election in October 1987. He arrived at a time when unionists were trying to exclude Sinn Fein from key decision-making processes.

O Muilleoir, the most able and media-savvy of the Sinn Fein team, initiated court actions successfully challenging discriminatory practices and policies, helping to lay the foundations for the modern, power-sharing council.

A writer and journalist , in 1997 he became a partner in the Andersonstown News and grew the business to include the South Belfast News and North Belfast News, as well as the Irish Echo in New York. It coincided with his retirement from the council.

O Muilleoir re-entered politics two years ago when he was elected for the Balmoral area of South Belfast and in June was appointed Lord Mayor, replacing Gavin Robinson.

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