Civic Forum for Northern Ireland

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Northern Ireland

The Civic Forum for Northern Ireland was a consultative body in Northern Ireland created in 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement and consisting of members of various civil bodies. It had no legislative or governmental powers.[1] It last met in 2002. The 2014 Stormont House Agreement envisages recreation of the forum on a smaller scale with the title Civic Advisory Panel.[2]


The Forum was set up in October 2000.[3] It was initially chaired by Chris Gibson. Other members included Gary McMichael.[4]

The body was suspended along with the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2002.[3] In June 2007, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister stated, "At this stage we are simply ascertaining how many of the current members are available and will decide then whether to recall them based on their responses."[5]

In 2011, in response to questions in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the First Minister said:[6]

Following the restoration of devolved powers in May 2007, the then First Minister and deputy First Minister considered the position of the Civic Forum in the re-established devolved arrangements and decided to commission a review of the effectiveness and appropriateness of its structure, operation and membership. The review was also to make recommendations on the most appropriate mechanism for engaging with civic society

....There was no widespread desire for a return to a structure of the size and expense of the Civic Forum as it had previously operated. Accordingly, there have been no meetings of the Civic Forum during this Assembly mandate, which has also resulted in considerable savings to the public purse.

...At the same time, I do not, in any way, want to leave the impression that we want to reduce the connection with our community. We want to continue having consultation. For instance, because of the economic downturn, the deputy First Minister and I brought together a group of stakeholders from across the community. We did that without those people getting or seeking any expenses, which indicates that people are willing to give their views without having elaborate and expensive structures.

In April 2013, the Assembly voted to recall the Forum.[7]


Members are appointed from the following sectors:[3]

  • Agriculture and fisheries (3)
  • Arts and sport (4)
  • Business (7)
  • Churches (5)
  • Community relations (2)
  • Culture (4)
  • Education (2)
  • Trade unionism (7)
  • Victims of terrorism (2)
  • Voluntary and community sectors (18)

In addition, there are three nominees of the First Minister of Northern Ireland and three of the Deputy First Minister.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Northern Ireland Civic Forum, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
  2. ^ "Civic Advisory Panel: Update". Northern Ireland Assembly debates. TheyWorkForYou. 27 Jun 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Details of the Members of the Civic Forum, CAIN Web Service
  4. ^ "Order protest over Civic Forum", BBC News
  5. ^ "Role of the Civic Forum to be reviewed", NIVCA
  6. ^ "Civic Forum". Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. They Work for You. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "SDLP Welcomes Assembly Support For Recall Of Civic Forum", SDLP, 9 April 2013