Edwin Poots

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Edwin Poots
Edwin Poots (cropped).jpg
Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
In office
6 May 2011 – 23 September 2014
Preceded by Michael McGimpsey
Succeeded by Jim Wells
Minister of the Environment
In office
1 July 2009 – 6 May 2011
Preceded by Sammy Wilson
Succeeded by Alex Attwood
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Lagan Valley
Assumed office
25 June 1998
Preceded by New Creation
Personal details
Born (1965-05-27) 27 May 1965 (age 51)
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Democratic Unionist Party
Spouse(s) Glynis
Children 4
Alma mater College of Agriculture
Occupation Farmer
Religion Free Presbyterian
Website Edwin Poots MLA

Edwin Poots (Irish: Éadaoin Mac Púit; born 27 April 1965) is a Northern Ireland politician. He is a member of the Democratic Unionist Party and is a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Lagan Valley.


Poots was educated at the Wallace High School, Lisburn, and then studied at Greenmount Agricultural College. He is married with four children. He is a farmer and previously served on Lisburn City Council. His father, Charles Poots was also a DUP politician, having stood in the 1969 Northern Ireland General Election for the Protestant Unionist Party.

Poots was a member of the Environment Committee and chaired the Committee of the Centre (Committee for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister) in the 1998-2003 Assembly. On 8 May 2007, he was appointed Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Ireland Executive, a post he held until 9 June 2008, when a cabinet re-shuffle saw this post being reassigned to Gregory Campbell. It was speculated that he was removed as Minister of Culture due to his support of the Maze stadium proposals.[1] He was subsequently made Deputy Mayor of Lisburn on 23 June 2008.[2]

On 1 July 2009, Poots was returned to the Executive as Minister of the Environment, in charge of the Department of the Environment. In May 2011, he was appointed as Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.[3]

On 23 September 2014, Poots was replaced by Jim Wells as Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.[4]

Personal views[edit]

Poots is a young earth creationist and rejects the theory of evolution.[5] In the same interview, when asked by BBC presenter William Crawley how old the Earth was, Poots replied: "My view on the earth is that it's a young earth. My view is 4,000 BC." Young earth creationism is accepted by the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, of which Poots is a member, and other conservative evangelicals in Northern Ireland. He is close to the Caleb Foundation, a creationist lobby.

Poots caused controversy by banning blood donations from gay people, saying "I think that people who engage in high-risk sexual behaviour in general should be excluded from giving blood."[6]

In September 2013 Poots confirmed his opposition to the LGBT community when, as Health Minister for Northern Ireland, he fought the ruling that would bring laws around LGBT adoption in N.I. into line with mainland UK.[7]

In January 2016, Poots was criticised by some for saying that the newly elected First Minister, Arlene Foster's, most important job was as a "wife, mother and daughter".[8] Poots defended himself saying it was not sexist and that he considered his most important job to be that of a "husband, father and son".[8] Others considered his comments were kind and well meaning.[8]


Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for Lagan Valley
1998 -
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Office suspended
Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure
2007 - 2008
Succeeded by
Gregory Campbell
Preceded by
Sammy Wilson
Minister of the Environment
2009 - 2011
Succeeded by
Alex Attwood
Preceded by
Michael McGimpsey
Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
2011 - 2014
Succeeded by
Jim Wells