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Market Development Association
Community Development Group

The Market Development Association (MDA) 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 Market Development Association on Twitter @MDABelfast and on Facebook 

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Market Development Association Team

Fionntán Hargey
Market Development Association

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.

Siobhan McDonell outdoor portrait, at Markets
Siobhán McDonnell
Market Development Association

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 outdoor portrait at Markets
JohnJo McGrady
Market Development Association

JohnJo McGrady first became involved with the MDA and community activism 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 (formerly Belfast Youth Forum).

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 and organising courses and events primarily around the rebuilding the local economy strand of "We Must Dissent". Whilst rebuilding the local economy would be his main focus, JohnJo is 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 as an Outreach and Detached worker and youth leader.

JohnJo is currently in his second year at Queen’s University Belfast, studying “International Politics and Conflict Studies”.

Ciaran Hargey outdoor portrait at Markets
Ciarán Hargey
Market Development Association

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.