25 Facts About Northern Ireland Assembly


Northern Ireland Assembly, often referred to by the metonym Stormont, is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland.

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The Northern Ireland 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 be supported by a majority within both blocs in order to pass.

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From June 1921 until March 1972, the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland was the Parliament of Northern Ireland, established by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and meeting from 1932 at Stormont, outside Belfast.

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Northern Ireland was administered by direct rule until 1999, with a brief exception in 1974.

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In 1982, another Northern Ireland Assembly was established, initially as a body to scrutinise the actions of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the Secretary of State, the UK Government minister with responsibility for Northern Ireland.

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The first election of members of the New Northern Ireland Assembly was on 25 June 1998 and it first met on 1 July 1998.

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Since then the Northern Ireland Assembly has operated with several interruptions and has been suspended on five occasions:.

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The Northern Ireland Assembly, already suspended, was dissolved on 28 April 2003 as scheduled, but the elections due the following month were postponed by the UK Government and were not held until November that year.

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The Northern Ireland Act 2006 repealed the Northern Ireland Act 2006 and disbanded "the Assembly".

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St Andrews Agreement Act provided for a "Transitional Assembly established under the Northern Ireland Act 2006" – to continue to contribute to preparations for the restoration of devolved government.

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The Transitional Northern Ireland Assembly first met on 24 November 2006 but proceedings were suspended due to a bomb threat by loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone.

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The first Official Opposition in the Northern Ireland Assembly was formed by the UUP in the closing months of the fourth term.

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The sixth Northern Ireland Assembly resumed on 11 January 2020, shortly before the UK's exit from the European Union.

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Northern Ireland Assembly has authority to legislate in a field of competences known as "transferred matters".

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Laws that would have normally been within the competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly were passed by the UK Parliament in the form of Orders-in-Council rather than Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to call for witnesses and documents, if the relevant responsibility has been transferred to its remit.

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Under the Assembly Members Act 2016 the number of MLAs per constituency was reduced from 6 to 5, leaving a total of 90 seats.

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The second election to the Northern Ireland Assembly was delayed by the UK government until 26 November 2003.

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The Northern Ireland Assembly is dissolved shortly before the holding of elections on a day chosen by the Secretary of State.

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Unlike the United Kingdom Parliament and the Oireachtas, the Northern Ireland Assembly had no provision for an official opposition to hold governing parties to account until legislation was passed in 2016.

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Course of the Northern Ireland Assembly saw a marked shift in party allegiance among voters.

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Northern Ireland Assembly is chaired by the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers, of whom one is appointed Principal Deputy Speaker.

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Northern Ireland Assembly Commission is the body corporate of the Northern Ireland Assembly with all that that entails.

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The very first bill of the Northern Ireland Assembly was to do with members' pensions and was taken through with minimum ado by a member of the commission.

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Northern Ireland Assembly has 9 statutory committees, each of which is charged with scrutinising the activities of a single ministerial department.

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