Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly
|Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly|
Seal of the Northern Ireland Assembly
(Within the house)
|Appointer||Northern Ireland Assembly
|Term length||No limits imposed|
|Inaugural holder||Lord Alderdice
July 1, 1998
|Website||Office of the Speaker|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly (originally having the title of Presiding Officer) 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.  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.
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.
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.
|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|
|Mitchel McLaughlin||Sinn Féin||12 January 2015|
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||12 January 2015|
|Robin Newton||Democratic Unionist||McLaughlin||20 February 2015|
|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||NI 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|
- Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons
- Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales
- Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
- Speaker of the British House of Commons
- Lord Speaker
- Ceann Comhairle
- Northern Ireland Assembly standing orders make provision for a presiding officer who shall have the title Speaker 1. The Speaker
- S. 39 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (which provides for a "Presiding Officer")
- "MLAs fail to replace NI Assembly Speaker William Hay".
- "Francie Molloy is assembly's principal deputy speaker". BBC News Online. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.