40 Facts About Arlene Foster


Arlene Foster was the first woman to hold either position.


Arlene Foster served in the Northern Ireland Executive as Minister of the Environment from 2007 to 2008, Minister for Enterprise and Investment from 2008 to 2015 and Minister for Finance and Personnel from 2015 to 2016.


In December 2015, Arlene Foster was elected unopposed to succeed Peter Robinson as leader of the DUP.


In January 2016, Arlene Foster became First Minister of Northern Ireland and shared power with Martin McGuinness.


McGuinness resigned as deputy First Minister in January 2017 amid the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal, which involved a green energy scheme that Arlene Foster set up during her time as Minister for Enterprise and Investment.


Arlene Foster was succeeded by Edwin Poots as DUP leader on 28 May 2021.


Arlene Foster left office as First Minister on 14 June 2021 and was succeeded by Paul Givan as First Minister on 17 June 2021.


Arlene Foster resigned from the Northern Ireland Assembly in October 2021 and became a presenter on GB News.


Arlene Foster Kelly was born in Enniskillen and was raised in the townland of Dernawilt, on the outskirts of Aghadrumsee.


Arlene Foster is a member of the Church of Ireland.


Arlene Foster was a pupil at Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, from 1982 to 1989, and attended Queen's University Belfast, where she graduated with an LLB degree.


Arlene Foster served as the association's chair from 1992 to 1993.


Arlene Foster was a councillor on Fermanagh District Council representing Enniskillen from 2005 to 2010.


Arlene Foster was elected as an Ulster Unionist in the 2003 Assembly elections.


In 2004, Arlene Foster resigned from the UUP and joined the Democratic Unionist Party, together with fellow Assembly members Jeffrey Donaldson and Norah Beare.


Arlene Foster finished second in the 2005 general election with 14,056 votes.


Arlene Foster again became acting First Minister on 10 September 2015, following the resignation of Robinson and a majority of DUP ministers in the wake of the killing of Kevin McGuigan.


Arlene Foster successfully liaised with UK ministers, such as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers MP, to restore HMS Caroline in Belfast.


Arlene Foster herself was challenged in a blog by Irish writer Jude Collins over the fact that she had chosen to speak out so robustly on the matter after not commenting about remarks made the previous day by another Unionist politician, Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson.


In January 2016, as she was poised to become First Minister, Arlene Foster stated that she would not be travelling to Dublin for the official centenary celebrations of the 1916 uprising against British rule, describing the rising as "an attack on democracy".


Arlene Foster was First Minister of Northern Ireland from January 2016 to January 2017.


Arlene Foster set the agenda during her maiden speech as First Minister as one of "hope for all the community".


In 2018, Arlene Foster addressed a PinkNews reception in Belfast, becoming the first DUP leader to attend an LGBT event.


Arlene Foster stated that, despite her opposition to same-sex marriage, she valued the contribution of the LGBT community in Northern Ireland and requested that differing views be respected.


Arlene Foster faced strong criticism after it was claimed that she personally campaigned to keep the scheme open, even when senior civil servants warned of the overspend and the Minister responsible, Jonathan Bell, planned on closing it.


Under the terms of the power-sharing agreement that created what is the Executive Office, his resignation resulted in Arlene Foster being removed from office, until Sinn Fein nominates a new deputy First Minister; the party stated that it would not replace McGuinness.


One of the key issues was the Irish Language Act, which Sinn Fein insist on and Arlene Foster has said that her party will never agree to.


In February 2021, after Brexit had been formally consummated on 31 December 2020, Arlene Foster objected to its implicit Irish Sea border.


On 21 February 2021, Arlene Foster announced the launch of a judicial review of the NIP as she said it had driven "a coach and horses" through the Act of Union and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which gives legislative effect to the Belfast Agreement.


Arlene Foster takes the position that "Fundamental to the Act of Union is unfettered trade throughout the UK," and that the "new regulatory and customs processes required to bring goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK" are inimical to the Act of Union.


Arlene Foster is joined by various members of the DUP along with Kate Hoey, Jim Allister and Ben Habib.


Arlene Foster was part of discussions involving deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, CDL Michael Gove and Vice-President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic.


Arlene Foster resigned as First Minister at 1pm on 14 June 2021 and Paul Givan succeeded Arlene Foster as First Minister on 17 June 2021.


On 7 September 2021, it was announced that Arlene Foster was to stand down as an MLA, which she did the following month.


On 25 July 2021, Arlene Foster was announced as a contributor to the British news channel, GB News.


Arlene Foster regularly appears on GB News' Sunday political magazine show The Political Correction.


On 7 October 2021, it was announced that Arlene Foster has joined the monthly Local Women magazine as a columnist.


Arlene Foster was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2022 Birthday Honours for political and public service.


On 14 October 2022, it was announced that Arlene Foster would be appointed to the House of Lords, sitting as a non-affiliated peer.


In 2020, Arlene Foster sued TV doctor Christian Jessen for defamation over his claim of a relationship with a protection officer.