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Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey steps aside on health grounds

The Sinn Fein MLA has been admitted to hospital.

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Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey (PA)

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey (PA)

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey (PA)

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has temporarily stepped down from the Stormont Executive on health grounds.

The Sinn Fein MLA said she was to have surgery in the coming days and was hopeful of being back at her desk within weeks.

She is being replaced by former culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin.

She said: “I have informed Joint Head of Government Michelle O’Neill and my party president Mary Lou McDonald that I will be stepping aside from my role as Minister for Communities temporarily for health reasons.

“Due to illness I have been admitted to hospital, and am to undergo surgery in the coming days, which will require time to properly recover.

“In light of these exceptional personal circumstances I am unable in the short term to discharge my ministerial duties, or participate fully in the Executive Committee.”

She said she has written to the joint heads of the Stormont Executive Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster to inform them of her decision to stand aside from her ministerial post.

Ms O’Neill paid tribute to Ms Hargey on Twitter and wished her a speedy recovery.

She said: “I want to wish my friend and colleague Deirdre Hargey a full and speedy recovery. I look forward to her returning to her post as soon as possible.”

She said her temporary replacement, Ms Ni Chuilin, would bring “a wealth of experience, determination and dedication to the post”.

PA