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Devolved Government - The Civic Forum

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Devolved Government in Northern Ireland
Secretary Assembly Executive Departments Committees North- South British- Irish Conference Civic_Forum

The Civic Forum

Under Strand One of the Good Friday Agreement proposals were set out to establish a Civic Forum in Northern Ireland comprising:

"representatives of the business, trade union and voluntary sectors, and such other sectors as agreed by the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. It will act as a consultative mechanism on social economic and cultural issues. The First Minister and deputy First Minister will by agreement provide administrative support for the Civic Forum and establish guidelines for the selection of representatives to the Civic Forum".

In February 1999 the Northern Ireland Assembly approved a report from David Trimble, then First Minister (Designate), and Seamus Mallon, then Deputy First Minister (Designate), on the composition of the Civic Forum. It was to consist of a chairman and 60 members drawn from the following ten sectors of Northern Ireland society: Voluntary/Community (18 representatives), Business (7 representatives), Trade Union (7 representatives), Churches (5 representatives), Arts & Sports (4 representatives), Culture (4 representatives), Agriculture & Fisheries (3 representatives), Community Relations (2 representatives), Education (2 representatives)and Victims (2 representatives). In additon the First Minister and the deputy First Minister would also have three personal nominations each.

However, in the face of on-going political instability it was some time before the Civic Forum was established in October 2000. It then met in plenary session on twelve occasions until 14 October 2002 when devolution in Northern Ireland was suspended indefinetly. As with the other devolved instiutions the Civic Forum was mothballed.

When devolved power was restored to Northern Ireland in May 2007 no immediate steps were taken to recall the Civic Forum. Instead on 29 May 2008 Ian Paisley, then First Minister, and Martin McGuinness, then deputy First Minister, announced thier intention to launch a public consultation as part of a wider review of the Civic Forum. To date (April 2011) there has still been no definitive decision from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) as to what role, if any, a Civic Forum would have in the future administration of Northern Ireland.

Details of the Members of the Civic Forum

List of the Meetings of the Civic Forum

Web Site:

See also:

Nolan, Paul., and Wilson, Robin. (2015). Dialogue and engagement: lessons from the Northern Ireland Civic Forum, (A report commissioned by Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust), (December 2015), [PDF; 254KB]. Belfast: JRCT. ... [21010]


Citizen's Assembly for Northern Ireland (2018-)

The establishment of The Citizen's Assembly (2016-), and its predecessor the Convention on the Constitution (2012-2014) - both in the Republic of Ireland - led various groups and individuals in Northern Ireland to press for the establishment of a citizen's assembly in the region.

In 2018 the Citizen's Assembly for Northern Ireland was established by Involve (a public participation charity). The first issue to be covered was that of the social care system for older people.

See the website for further details:



CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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