Northern Ireland Assembly

The Northern Ireland Assembly (Irish: Tionól Thuaisceart Éireann),[2] often referred to by the metonym Stormont, is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive. It sits at Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast. The Assembly was in a period of suspension until January 2020, after it collapsed in January 2017 due to policy disagreements between its power-sharing leadership, particularly following the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. In January 2020, the British and Irish governments agreed on a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Assembly
Sixth Assembly
Type
Type
History
Founded1998
Preceded byParliament of Northern Ireland (1921–1972)
Leadership
Alex Maskey
since 11 January 2020
Paul Givan, DUP
since 17 June 2021
Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Féin
since 11 January 2020
Structure
Seats90
Assembly
political groups
Executive (81)[1]
  •   DUP (26) U
  •   Sinn Féin (26) N
  •   SDLP (12) N
  •   UUP (10) U
  •   Alliance (7) O

Opposition (8)

Speaker (1)

Assembly
committees
  • Executive Office
  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
  • Communities
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Infrastructure
  • Justice
  • Assembly and Executive Review Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Business Committee
  • Procedures Committee
  • Public Accounts Committee
  • Standards and Privileges Committee
Salary£55,000 per year + expenses
Elections
Assembly
voting system
Single transferable vote
Assembly
last election
2 March 2017
Assembly
next election
5 May 2022 or earlier
Meeting place
The Assembly Chamber in Parliament Buildings
Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast
Website
www.niassembly.gov.uk

The Assembly is a unicameral, democratically elected body comprising 90 members[3] known as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Members are elected under the single transferable vote form of proportional representation (STV-PR)[4] In turn, the Assembly selects most of the ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive using the principle of power-sharing under the D'Hondt method to ensure that Northern Ireland's largest voting blocs, British unionists and Irish nationalists, both participate in governing the region. The Assembly's standing orders allow for certain contentious motions to require a cross-community vote; in addition to requiring the support of an overall majority of members, such votes must also be supported by a majority within both blocs in order to pass.

The Assembly is one of two "mutually inter-dependent" institutions created under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the other being the North/South Ministerial Council with the Republic of Ireland.[5] The Agreement aimed to end Northern Ireland's violent 30-year Troubles. The first Assembly election was held in June 1998.