Conor Murphy steps down as Economy Minister on medical grounds

Conor Murphy
Conor Murphy is stepping down "on medical grounds" [PA Media]

Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy is to stand down as Northern Ireland's Economy Minister, First Minister Michelle O'Neill has said.

He is stepping down immediately on "medical grounds," the Sinn Féin deputy leader added.

His party colleague Deirdre Hargey is to take on the role on an interim basis.

On Tuesday, Mr Murphy told the UK Covid Inquiry he would not be appearing before it "on medical advice".

He also had to miss a scheduled appearance in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

"Conor has been advised by his doctor to rest and will undergo further medical tests," Ms O'Neill said.

"My colleagues and I all wish Conor a full and speedy recovery."

Well wishes from fellow politicians

Writing on social media, Ms Hargey said Mr Murphy will be "back in action very soon".

"I will work hard in the time ahead on progressing your economic vision of a fair, balanced and innovative economy until your return," she added.

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader Doug Beattie has also wished Mr Murphy well, adding he hopes he makes a speedy recovery.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party's leader Colum Eastwood said he was "genuinely sorry" to hear of Mr Murphy's ill health.

"You're right to put your health and family first. Best wishes for a quick recovery," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.