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MEP - Six Counties - Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson has been involved with the Republican struggle for over 30 years. Martina and Bairbre share some similar attributes, strong women, strong character, focused, diligent, committed and always showed a willingness to serve the party and indeed the struggle in whatever capacity is asked.

Like Bairbre, Martina has also served in many capacities. Following her release from prison she immediately immersed herself in party activity promoting the political and peace strategy being developed by the republican leadership. She worked as a researcher in Stormont before Gerry Adams asked her to take on the role of all-Ireland political coordinator. In this capacity she was responsible for promoting, upgrading and mainstreaming the All Ireland agenda - a forerunner to the present Uniting Ireland project.

Following the leadership identifying the need to build a new relationship with unionism Martina was approached by party President and asked to take on the responsibility of SF's Director of Unionist Engagement. A task she pursued with her usual vigour, leading to a number of firstly private and then public meetings between the party leadership, churches and opinion makers within unionism.

Recognising her natural leadership qualities Derry Sinn Féin selected Martina to go forward for election to the Assembly at the 2007 elections when, along with party colleague and comrade, Raymond McCartney she was elected. Once more recognised as being capable of rising to any challenge and following the historic decision by the party to embrace and establish new policing structures Martina was an obvious choice to take her place on the Policing Board. Again she impressed not only republicans but many of her political opponents by her grasp of detail and application to the job that needed done.

Following her re-election to the Assembly in 2011 Gerry Adams asked Martina if she would be prepared to take on the role of Junior Minister in the Office of FMdFM. Again without hesitation she accepted the challenge and has been an exemplary Minister and a great source of support to me in my position as deputy First Minister.

Now, because of unforeseen circumstances and Bairbre's personal decision to step aside as MEP, Martina once more finds herself catapulted into new territory and an even bigger challenge, for which the party have every confidence in Martina's ability.