Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA this evening wished the Northern Ireland football team every success ahead of their forthcoming European Championship campaign in France this summer.
The Minister was speaking as he attended the friendly match at the newly refurbished Windsor Park between Northern Ireland and Belarus. He said: “The Northern Ireland football team have confounded the critics, managing a series of fantastic results to top the qualifying Group and reach the European Championship finals as Group winners in France. The excitement and confidence is building as we head towards the start of the tournament, and tonight’s game is an important part of the team’s final preparations. I am sure that Michael O’Neill and his team will continue the fairytale during the tournament, especially with the incredible support they will receive from the estimated 50,000 travelling fans, with many thousands cheering on the team from home.
“The amazing run that the team made to get to this stage has demonstrated how sport can provide the opportunity for our community to unite together, celebrate and enjoy shared experiences.”
The Minister said that sport was just one of the areas that his new Department for Communities oversees. He said: “This new Department has strategic responsibility for social inclusion, anti-poverty, sports, arts and culture, languages, local government and community planning, finding employment, historic environment, housing, regeneration, benefits and pensions, community and voluntary sector development, social legislation and child maintenance. I believe these are the key levers which will bring about real lasting change in the lives of all our citizens.
“Over the coming days and weeks I look forward to engaging with key stakeholders across my remit, to listen to their views and outline my vision for the central role my Department will play in delivering positive change across our society.”
Notes to editors:
- Minister Paul Givan has been appointed Minister for the Department for Communities. At the age of 23 Paul was the youngest Councillor to be elected to Lisburn City Council in 2005 and more recently was successfully returned in May 2011 before stepping down in 2013. During that time he has served as Vice-Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee; Police Partnership; and as Chairman of the Corporate Services Committee. In June 2010 Paul joined the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent the people of Lagan Valley, and was successfully returned again in the most recent election earlier this month
- In May 2016 the Department for Communities was established following the restructuring of Northern Ireland Departments
- It is the largest of the nine NICS Departments and works with 21 Arms Length Bodies
- Around 8,500 people are employed by the Department, accounting for one third of NICS employees
- It has an annual budget of almost £7billion, including expenditure of £5.9billion on social security and pension payments
- Media enquiries to Department for Communities Press Office, tel: 028 9082 9267 or email email@example.com. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned
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