|Devolved Government in Northern Ireland
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
At the time of devolution (midnight 1 December 1999) certain powers were retained by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (then Peter Mandelson; currently Peter Hain). The role of the Secretary of State following devolution of powers was set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The Secretary of State was responsible for:
(Following lengthy political negotiations an agreement was reached in February 2010 whereby powers relating to security and justice were devloved from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 April 2010.)
The Secretary of State is also a member of the Cabinet of the British government. In that role the Secretary of State represents the interests of Northern Ireland at a United Kingdom level. However, as was demonstrated at midnight on Friday 11 February 2000, the Secretary of State also has powers to suspend the institutions of devolved government. The British parliament can also introduce legislation to return 'direct rule' to Westminster on a permanent basis.
An indefinite period of suspension of devolved government began at midnight on Monday 14 October 2002.
On Tuesday 15 October 2002 John Reid, then Secretary of State, announced the expanded roles of Northern Ireland Office ministers.
There was a government reshuffle on 5 April 2004 and Paul Murphy, then Secretary of State, announced the new ministerial portfolios at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).
There was a further government reshuffle on 5 May 2006 and Peter Hain, then Secretary of State, announced the new ministerial portfolios at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).
On midnight 7 May 2007 devolved power was once again returned to the Northern Ireland Assembly; there was a change to NIO portfolios.
There was a British government cabinet reshuffle on 28 June 2007 led to changes to NIO portfolios.
The Westminster general election led to a coalition government on 11 May 2010 and new NIO portfolios. There was a British cabinet re-shuffle on 4 September 2012 which resulted in a new Secretary of State being appointed.
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.
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