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Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly

 

Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Incumbent
Vacant

since 14-20 September 2014
Style Mr. Speaker
(Within the house)
Appointer Northern Ireland Assembly
(Elected by)
Term length No limits imposed
Inaugural holder Lord Alderdice
July 1, 1998
Formation 1998
Website Office of the Speaker
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Northern Ireland

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly[1] (originally having the title of Presiding Officer)[2] is the presiding officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly, elected on a cross-community vote by the Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. A Principal Deputy Speaker and two Deputy Speakers are elected to help fulfil the role. The office of Speaker has been vacant since the resignation of William Hay from the position on 14 September 2014. [3] Most of the duties of the office are currently being carried out by the Principal Deputy Speaker, Mitchel McLaughlin.

The Office of the Speaker is located in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. The Speaker is also the Chairman of the Assembly Commission, the body corporate of the Assembly, and the Chairman of the Assembly Business Committee.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Election 2
  • Speakers 3
  • Principal Deputy Speaker 4
  • Deputy Speakers 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History

The first person to hold the position was Lord Alderdice, appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 1998. Prior to devolution in December 1999 the position was referred to as the Initial Presiding Officer. Alderdice left office in 2004.

Eileen Bell held the office of Speaker in the Assembly established under the Northern Ireland Act 2006 which met between May and October 2006 and in the Transitional Assembly established under the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 which met between November 2006 and May 2007. Under the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 she was appointed Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007.

One of the first items of business for the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007 was to elect a new Speaker from the MLAs elected in March 2007. The only nominee was William Hay, DUP member for Foyle and he was elected unopposed.

In May 2011 the new position of Principal Deputy Speaker was created.[4] Sinn Féin deputy speaker Francie Molloy was subsequently elected to the new position in June 2011.

Election

During the first meeting of a new Assembly a Speaker is elected. The oldest (by age) Member of the Assembly (see Father of the House) who is not seeking the appointment oversees the election as Acting Speaker. Nominees are then put forward, seconded and accepted by the nominee. A vote is then taken which must achieve the support of both sides of the house (cross-community support). A successful nominee is then deemed elected as Speaker and takes the chair. Upon election the Speaker must relinquish all party political affiliations. The newly or re-elected speaker then oversees the selection of three Deputy Speakers.

Speakers

Speaker Party on taking office Took office Left office
    Lord Alderdice Alliance 1 July 1998 29 February 2004
    Eileen Bell Alliance 8 May 2007 8 May 2007
    William Hay Democratic Unionist 8 May 2007 13 October 2014

Principal Deputy Speaker

Principal Deputy Speaker Party Speaker Took office Left office
    Francie Molloy Sinn Féin Hay 28 June 2011 15 April 2013
    Mitchel McLaughlin Sinn Féin Hay 15 April 2013

Deputy Speakers

Deputy Speaker Party Speaker Took office Left office
    Sir John Gorman Ulster Unionist Alderdice 31 January 2000 19 February 2002
    Donovan McClelland SDLP Alderdice 31 January 2000 7 May 2007
    Jane Morrice Northern Ireland Women's Coalition Alderdice 31 January 2000 7 May 2007
    Jim Wilson Ulster Unionist Alderdice 25 February 2002 7 May 2007
    Francie Molloy Sinn Féin Hay 8 May 2007 28 June 2011
    David McClarty Ulster Unionist Hay 8 May 2007 11 May 2011
    John Dallat SDLP Hay 8 May 2007
    Roy Beggs Jr Ulster Unionist Hay 12 May 2011

See also

References

  1. ^ Northern Ireland Assembly standing orders make provision for a presiding officer who shall have the title Speaker 1. The Speaker
  2. ^ S. 39 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (which provides for a "Presiding Officer")
  3. ^ "MLAs fail to replace NI Assembly Speaker William Hay". 
  4. ^ "Francie Molloy is assembly's principal deputy speaker".  

External links

  • Office of the Speaker
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