The Minister for Education
Mr John O’Dowd MLA became Minister for Education in the Northern Ireland Executive in May 2011.
In the autumn of 2011 he stood in as Deputy First Minister while Martin McGuinness was contesting the Irish presidential election.
He was born and grew up in a rural community between Lurgan and Banbridge. He has been a member of Sinn Fein for over 25 years, spending 14 years as a councillor on Craigavon Council and being elected in 2003 as MLA for Upper Bann. Between 2007 and 2011 he was Sinn Féin group leader in the Assembly and served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee before becoming a member of the Education Committee in 2008.
Mr O’Dowd is married with 3 young children.