Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 17:06 UK

Poots dropped as culture minister

(L-R) Gregory Campbell, Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster, Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson
The DUP has six ministers in the Stormont Executive

Culture Minister Edwin Poots has been dropped from the Stormont Executive and replaced by Gregory Campbell.

Sammy Wilson has been appointed environment minister, while Arlene Foster moves to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

The reshuffle of DUP ministers follows the elevation of Peter Robinson to first minister.

Mr Poots leaves the executive after just one year, and amid controversy over his support for the Maze stadium.

The project is widely acknowledged as being unpopular with many DUP assembly members

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, as expected, replaces Mr Robinson as finance minister.

BBC NI political correspondent Martina Purdy said the reshuffle could be viewed "as a promotion for both Mr Dodds and Mrs Foster".

"Mr Wilson's promotion could prove controversial with environmentalists," she continued.

(L-R) Gregory Campbell, Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster, Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson
The DUP has six ministers in the Stormont Executive

"Last year, he was given a green wash award by the Young Greens Society at Queen's University, in protest at his pro-nuclear vision."

Jeffrey Donaldson keeps his job as junior minister in the Office of First and Deputy First Minister.

Friends of the Earth expressed its "concern" over Sammy Wilson's appointment as environment minister.

Its Northern Ireland Director John Woods said: "I congratulate Sammy Wilson on his appointment, but I believe it is a mistake.

"Mr Wilson is well known for his sceptical views on climate change.

"It is difficult to see how a minister who holds such views in the face of overwhelming evidence could be a credible protector of our environment."

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said the DUP's decision to appoint Sammy Wilson as environment minister was "grossly irresponsible" and that the environment would suffer as a result.

Commenting on the overall reshuffle, Traditional Unionist leader Jim Allister MEP said: "While the DUP needs a reshuffle of policy more than a change of personnel, there are aspects of this reshuffle which require comment.

How can they possible justify juggling these varying roles while trying to achieve the best possible outcome for the people of Northern Ireland?
UUP statement

"The increase in triple mandates is bad news for the quality and constancy of the representation of unionism at Westminster. In a year we have moved from three double-jobbing MPs serving also as ministers to five.

"We have recently seen DUP MPs absent from key votes in the Commons on the Lisbon Treaty and the Embryology Bill. No-one can adequately do two, never mind three jobs - MP, MLA and minister."

In a statement, the Ulster Unionist Party similarly said: "This poses the question, how can they (the DUP's ministers) possibly attempt to carry out these specific roles to the best of their ability?

"How can they possible justify juggling these varying roles while trying to achieve the best possible outcome for the people of Northern Ireland? People can't be in two places at once."



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