The youngest minister in the Assembly will address the city’s brightest young stars at a celebratory luncheon at Queen's University next week.

Michelle O’Neill, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development will be the guest speaker at the fifth annual Belfast Top 40 Under 40 hosted by Belfast Media Group with Platinum Partner NYSE Euronext.

Raising a glass to the up-and-coming leaders of Belfast in the grand surroundings of the Great Hall, the 40 Under 40 celebration will showcase the verve and vigour of 40 of the city’s most outstanding and youthful achievers.

Politicians and poets, musicians and mathematicians, firefighters and footballers have all been among the Top 40 honourees over recent years. Special awards have gone to some of the city's brightest and best including Naomi Long MP, blind adventurer Mark Pollock, US Acting Consul General Kevin Roland and prizewinning pugilist Martin Rogan.

Joining NYSE Euronext to back this year’s event are gold partners Northern Bank, Belfast City Airport and the Kennedy Centre.

Said Connla McCann of the Belfast Media Group: “In tough times, Belfast needs young role models to look up to and we have those in spades with the Belfast 40 Under 40. We’re particularly pleased that we have a new generation of politicians, from every shade of political opinion, on the listing which represents the new, united voice of Belfast. And of course, our guest of honour is the only Executive Minister young enough to qualify for the listing."

Tony McManus of NYSE Euronext: "As a major investor and employer in the city of Belfast, NYSE Euronext is heartened and inspired by the exceptional individuals who are being recognised at the annual Belfast 40 Under 40 celebration.

“The talent and verve of Belfast's young people is epitomised by this fabulous 40 and it's clear the future of the city is safe in their hands."

Among the high-flying achievers on this year's listing are Claire Trainor, Communications Manager at NI Hospice, Ashley Maybin, graduate of the US-NI Mentorship Programme, Dr Pedro Rebelo, Director of Research at world-renowned Sonic Arts Research Centre at QUB, photographer Carrie Davenport and entrepreneur Luke Wolsley.