LORD Mayor of Belfast Councillor Christina Black and Speaker of the Stormont Assembly Alex Maskey have paid tribute to Belfast peacemaker and businesswoman Dr Maria Moloney who has passed away after a short illness.
A former student at St Dominic’s on the Falls Road, she began her working life at the NI Development Agency, progressing onto work for the Housing Executive.
She was appointed as the first senior female executive managing business development at Harland and Wolf, which earned her international recognition and respect and marked a milestone for fair employment for the nationalist community.
She served on the board of Belfast Harbour, Translink, NI Railways and the former Industrial Development Board. She served also on the Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Councillor Black said: “I want to pay tribute to Dr Maria Moloney and the important contribution she made to community and public life in Belfast.
“As a woman she was a trailblazer who broke through glass ceilings and walls in the world of business and public life for over forty years.
"Maria Moloney made a solid contribution to advancing our economy in the wake of the peace process, and to a city working hard to attract tourism, investment and jobs for its people.
“A woman of strong Christian faith she was active in the South Belfast parish of St Brigid’s, and across our city building bridges as a quiet peacemaker.
“Helping establish the Friends of the Cancer Centre at the City Hospital of which she was a board member for 13 years, she was passionate about making sure those in the city who needed cancer patient care and treatment got it."
Mayor Black also paid tribute to Dr Moloney's work to raise money for scholarships to enable less well-off students to attend Ulster University.
“Returning herself to third level education as a mature student, she qualified as a solicitor and was admitted to the roll of solicitors in both Blackhall Place, Dublin and Chancery Lane, London. She also obtained both doctorate and master’s degrees at Queens University. She was rightly recognised when Ulster University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Law degree for her services to the university, and community.
“On behalf of Belfast City Council I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to her brother, Dr Denis Moloney and to her wide circle of colleagues and friends at this sad time as they mourn her loss.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.”
Last night, Speaker of the Stormont Parliament and former South and West Belfast MLA Alex Maskey added his voice to the tributes being paid to Dr Moloney. "She was an elegant and eloquent lady who spoke up for social justice and always acted in the best interests of the community," he said.