Executive of the 1974 Northern Ireland Assembly

A power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive was formed following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections of 1973. The executive served as the devolved government of Northern Ireland from 1 January 1974 until its collapse on 28 May 1974.

Executive of the
1974 Northern Ireland Assembly
1974 Executive of Northern Ireland
Date formed1 January 1974
Date dissolved28 May 1974
People and organisations
Head of stateElizabeth II
Head of governmentBrian Faulkner
Deputy head of governmentGerry Fitt
No. of ministers9
Member partyUUP (pro-assembly)
Status in legislatureCoalition
Election(s)1973 assembly election
Legislature term(s)1973 Assembly
PredecessorFaulkner ministry
SuccessorDirect rule (1974–98)
1st Executive of Northern Ireland


Elections to a Northern Ireland Assembly were held on 28 June 1973. On 21 November, the Sunningdale Agreement was reached on a voluntary coalition of pro-agreement parties, and the Executive took office on 1 January 1974. Prominent members of the executive included former Ulster Unionist Party Prime Minister Brian Faulkner as Chief Executive, then Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Gerry Fitt as Deputy Chief Executive, future Nobel Laureate and SDLP leader John Hume as Minister for Commerce and then leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Oliver Napier as Legal Minister and head of the Office of Law Reform.

The UUP was deeply divided; its Standing Committee voted to participate in the executive by a margin of only 132 to 105. Since the partition of Ireland, unionists had been opposed to sharing power with the Irish nationalist minority, and the end of majoritarianism caused great strife in the UUP. Other contentious issues were internment, policing and the question of the planned Council of Ireland.

After opposition from within the UUP and the Ulster Workers' Council strike, the executive and Assembly collapsed on 28 May 1974 when Faulkner resigned as Chief Executive.

Chief Executive

In January 1974 Brian Faulkner became Chief Executive in the power-sharing executive with the SDLP and the non-sectarian Alliance Party, a political alliance cemented at the Sunningdale Conference that year. After opposition from within the UUP and the Ulster Workers Council Strike, the executive and assembly collapsed on 28 May 1974 when Faulkner resigned as Chief Executive. Brian Faulkner would later then form his own political party known as the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. They contested the 1975 Constitutional Convention Elections in which they got only 5 seats and no new Chief Executive was elected to replace Brian Faulkner.

No. Name
Portrait Term of office Elected
Executive Party Last office(s) held before election
1. Brian Faulkner
MLA for South Down
1 January 1974 28 May 1974 1973 (Assembly) 1974
Ulster Unionist Party Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
Minister of Home Affairs (1971–1972)

1974 Executive of Northern Ireland

Office Name Term Party
Chief Executive Brian Faulkner 1974 UUP
Deputy Chief Executive Gerry Fitt 1974 SDLP
Minister of Agriculture Leslie Morrell 1974 UUP
Minister of Commerce John Hume 1974 SDLP
Minister of Education Basil McIvor 1974 UUP
Minister of the Environment Roy Bradford 1974 UUP
Minister of Finance Herbert Kirk 1974 UUP
Minister of Health and Social Services Paddy Devlin 1974 SDLP
Minister of Housing, Local Government and Planning Austin Currie 1974 SDLP
Minister of Information John Baxter 1974 UUP
Legal Minister and Head of the Office of Law Reform Oliver Napier 1974 Alliance

See also