Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan has taken up his new post as Communities Minister in the Stormont Assembly and is determined that he will continue to do all he can to support and promote Lisburn on the national stage.
Mr Givan, who topped the poll in Lagan Valley during last month’s Assembly election, said he was delighted to have been appointed to be the Minister of the largest of the nine Assembly departments.
In May 2016 the Department for Communities was established following the restructuring of Northern Ireland Departments and covers areas such as housing, Social Security, loval government, social inclusion, sport, arts and culture, with a budget of £7 billion a year.
Mr Givan learnt just two hours before taking up office that he had been appointed as a Minister in the new Assembly and he has spent the last week getting to grips with the remit of his Department.
“I found out on the morning I was appointed,” explained Mr Givan. “I was called into Arlene’s office at 10.30am and two hours later I was taking the pledge of office.
“I thought if I was going to be made a Minister it would have happened over the weekend so my expectation when I was driving to Stormont that day was that it wasn’t going to happen.
“Nevertheless, it is a great opportunity and something I welcome. I know there will be challenges but I look forward to facing them.
“It is an opportunity to deliver things for the community. I didn’t stand for election to be in opposition.
“I stood to be effective and take forward the vision we have for Northern Ireland and being a Minister is an opportunity to do that.”
Despite the enormity of the role he has undertaken, Mr Givan said that he will not forget the people who elected him and that he will be doing all that he can for community in Lagan Valley.
“The people of Lagan Valley first gave me the opportunity to represent them, right from being a counmcillor and recently in the Assembly election,” he continued. “My Department know I want to look for opportunities to take Lisburn foward. I will represent all of Northern Ireland but Lagan Valley has a special place for me.”
Mr Givan also stressed the importance of his family and, as a young Minister with three daughters, he is determined to have them involved in his engagements and will do everything he can to strike a work/life balance.
“Family does come first for me,” he added. “I have three young girls and they need to have their dad about so they will be coming with me to many events. I know this is a huge opportunity but I also know that with that comes huge responsiblity.”