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Nelson McCausland takes up office at DCAL

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Nelson McCausland has been appointed Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Ireland Executive from 30 June 2009.

Representing the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) he was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) first in 2003 and is a long serving member of Belfast City Council, having been elected to serve in 1989 to present.

Speaking about his new Ministerial role, Nelson McCausland said: "I am very much looking forward to leading on the very diverse portfolio of Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL.) This Department’s work touches the lives of us all as we all have a passion – for some it is sport, for others art and for some, it is simply ensuring that we make the most of our leisure time with our family and friends.

“The arts, sport, libraries, archives, museums and languages all impact on the economic and cultural life of Northern Ireland.

“Looking forward, this summer is absolutely packed full of highlights including Ulster Grand Prix, British Karting Event, Foyle Cup, Milk Cup, World Dwarf Athletics – just to mention a few. We also have the visit of the Tall Ships which is a great family cultural event – free for all to enjoy! Later in the year I look forward to the re-opening of the Ulster Museum and of course work is ongoing at the New Lyric.

"Northern Ireland is a small country which has produced some of the most talented individuals and teams in the sphere of culture and arts in the United Kingdom – and I feel very proud to be the Minister overseeing and supporting such a wealth of talent. I am also very much aware of the unique contribution the Ulster-Scots and Irish languages make to the richness of our cultural diversity.”

The Minister also commented on the talent of Northern Ireland people who are helping to build a more dynamic and creative economy.

Nelson McCausland continued: "Arts and culture make a vital contribution to our quality of life as well as attracting inward investment and tourism. Investment in arts and culture also supports local jobs and stimulates consumer spending. In these challenging times we need to make the most of every opportunity we have to maximise any opportunity for job creation.

"I am also conscious that the Department has a challenging programme of work and an ambitious capital programme which will see the renewal of the Arts infrastructure in Belfast and Londonderry and the provision of a new state-of-the-art Record Office. I will be launching a new strategy for sport and will seek to maximise the benefits presented by the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I very much look forward to meeting the many communities who through sport, culture and language contribute to the diverse fabric of our society in Northern Ireland, to celebrating and supporting them in their efforts to make this a engaging, entertaining and better place to live and work.”

Notes to Editors :

1. Biography details

Nelson McCausland, MLA, was appointed Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Ireland Executive from Tuesday 30 June.

He was educated at Belfast Royal Academy, Worchester College, Oxford and Queens University, Belfast and is a former teacher.

He was elected to Belfast City Council in 1989 and has represented the Council on the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Belfast Education and Library Board. He was the director of the Ulster-Scots Heritage Council from 1997 to 2003 and has been a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2003 for the North Belfast Constituency.

2. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Press Office Tel (028) 90 515 045 or email .

Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.