History of Parliament Buildings – The Northern Ireland Parliament Established in 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act (1920) which created Northern Ireland. Sat in Belfast City Hall and the Presbyterian Assembly’s College, Botanic Ave, before moving to Parliament Buildings in 1932. Unionist government 1921-72. Prorogued (suspended) in 1972. Northern Ireland came under Direct Rule from Westminster.
Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland 1921-1972 Sir James Craig1921-1940 John Miller Andrews1940-1943 Sir Basil Brooke1943-1963 Terence O’Neill1963 – 1969 James Chichester-Clarke1969-1971 Brian Faulkner1971-1972
Parliament Buildings 1972 to date From 1972 to September 1998 used by the Civil Service with 2 exceptions The 1973/74 Assembly with Power Sharing Executive (Sunningdale Agreement). 1982 – 1986 Assembly set up under James Prior’s Rolling Devolution plan. Since September 1998 – Parliament Buildings has been the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Sunningdale Agreement 1973/1974 Negotiated by the British and Irish Governments & by representatives from certain Parties (UUP,SDLP, Alliance) Established new structures for government Power-sharing between Nationalist & Unionist Parties Power-sharing Executive & Council of Ireland
Key Players in Sunningdale Prime Minister Edward Heath (GB) Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave (ROI) Secretary of State: Whitelaw/Pym/Rees Brain Faulkner James Craig Ian Paisley (DUP) Gerry Fitt (SDLP)
The Northern Ireland Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly was set up as a result of the ‘Belfast/Good Friday Agreement’ of 1998. May 1998 - In a vote, 71% support the Agreement. In a referendum in the ROI, 94.4% voted to change Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. First election – June 1998 Suspended from Oct 2002 to 8 May 2007
The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement Strand One The democratic institutions in Northern Ireland Strand Two North-South institutions (including a North/South Ministerial Council) to encourage co-operation between NI and ROI in areas such as agriculture, health, education and tourism. Strand Three East-West institutions to encourage co- operation between people of Ireland and Great Britain.
MLAs are members of Political Parties Total = 108 MLAs David McClarty MLA Independent as of 7 May 2011 382916 14 8 1 1
Northern Ireland Party Leaders DUPSFUUP SDLPAPNIGreen Party TUV Peter Robinson Tom Elliott Margaret Ritchie David Ford Steven Agnew Gerry Adams Jim Allister
Who works in the Assembly? MLAs. Members of the Legislative Assembly. MLAs are people who have been elected by those living in an area or constituency to be their voice in the Assembly. There are 108 MLAs. Elections are held every 4 years with 18 constituencies electing 6 MLAs each.
A small group of MLAs called Ministers who take charge of particular areas, eg health or education. 10 Departmental Ministers – from 4 parties Appointed using a mathematical formula, called d’Hondt, based on the number of seats parties have in the Assembly. Agrees the Budget and Programme for Government – to be approved by the Assembly. The Executive Committee is headed by a First Minister and deputy First Minister, who have equal powers.
The Speaker The Speaker chairs the plenary meetings of the Assembly. Makes sure that rules are followed and keeps ‘Order!’ in the Chamber. The Speaker’s ruling is final in all disputes. The Speaker cannot vote. There are 3 Deputy Speakers. Mr William Hay MLA
Making decisions for Northern Ireland The European Parliament International Government The UK Parliament National Government The Northern Ireland Assembly Regional Government City/District Councils Local Government