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Our Partners

The Market Development Association (MDA), a community development group, was established in 1995 to promote the well-being of all residents living in the Market area of South Belfast and it aims to develop the community into one where people want to live, work and socialise. The MDA seeks to advocate on behalf of the Market community on socio-economic issues which impact on the residents, by adopting a community development approach. The MDA engages with statutory agencies, government departments, political representatives, the private sector and other stakeholders in order to advance the development of the Market area into a vibrant and sustainable inner city working class community.

The MDA aims to empower the local community through the promotion of active citizenship within the community and in the city of Belfast. MDA strives for equality, and for promoting a rights based approach when dealing with the many socio-economic issues that impact on the Market community. The organisation works on the following core objectives:

1. Housing

2. Children and Youth

3. Health

4. Community Cohesion, Community Relations and Community Safety

5. Strategic Planning, Community Infrastructure and Sustainability

6. Education, Training, Employment and Employability

Follow the Market Development Association on Twitter @MDABelfast and on Facebook 

Market Development Association team

Fionntán Hargey

Fionntán Hargey is a project and community worker at Market Development Association and has been involved in a number of current and past strategic regeneration initiatives and campaigns in the area, including “Market Tunnels Project”, “We Must Dissent: A Framework for Community Renewal”, “Sunshine not Skyscrapers” and “Rebuilding the Local Economy”.

He is a Director of Cromac Regeneration Initiative since 2018 and is co-author of Creativity and Resistance in a Hostile World (Manchester University Press, 2020), on the subject of “Creatively connecting civil rights: co-creation, theatre and collaboration for social transformation in Belfast”. Fionntán was instrumental in the inception and development of the Community Engagement Charter at Queen’s University.

Siobhán McDonnell

Siobhán McDonnell is the Community Development Officer in the MDA focusing on the education strand of the MDA’s action plan as well as overseeing community festivals, engaging with residents and working with staff and committee to tackle community issues.

Siobhán was previously an MDA committee member, holding the position of treasurer, and recently went on to graduate from Queen’s University with a degree in Accountancy, aiming to focus it on the upcoming capital projects in the area.

JohnJo McGrady

JohnJo McGrady first became involved with the MDA in mid-2018 as a result of his contribution to the "We Must Dissent: Framework for Community Renewal" film which was being produced to accompany the document.  He was a member of the Belfast City Youth Council.

Since November 2019 he has been employed by the MDA as “CTI Project Support Worker”. JohnJo’s main work is supporting residents into training and/or employment, organising courses and events around the rebuilding the local economy strand of "We Must Dissent". JohnJo is also involved in wider community engagement and in other aspects of the ‘We Must Dissent’ such as the Health and Education strands.  He also works for St Malachy’s Youth Centre.

Ciarán Hargey

Ciarán Hargey had been a volunteering member on the MDA committee for 10 years before joining the staff team in December 2019.  He is working on two main projects for the Market:

  1. Coordinating the health working group towards creation of a strategy document
  2. Coordinating a working group to create a Knowledge Economy Hub in the area

He was a founding member of a local football club and is now assisting with rebuilding of the local GAA club's youth structures.

Ciarán previously worked for Queen's as core and research technician in Centre for Experimental Medicine.

Áine Brady

Áine is the local coordinator for the QCAP pilot community in the Market. She works connecting the community and the university to deliver outcomes across the initiative. She previously spent 10 years working in the Children & Young People’s Unit in Belfast City Council and before that worked for a number of NGO’s in the children’s rights sector. Áine has been the Chairperson of the MDA since 2017 and is responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation and management of the staff team.   

Patrick McNally

Patrick McNally is QCAP’s local programme support for the pilot community of QCAP in the Market. He has been a professional footballer since the age of 16, playing for clubs such as Celtic FC and Cliftonville and is currently captain of Portadown.

Patrick has a keen interest in communities and the issues that affect them and limit opportunities. He has worked with children and young people throughout his sporting career and is very committed to exploring how sport and psychical activity can benefit mental health, particularly that of young men.