Peter Weir (politician)

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Peter Weir

Peter Weir MLA.jpg
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Strangford
Assumed office
2 March 2017
Preceded byJonathan Bell
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for North Down
In office
25 June 1998 – 26 January 2017
Preceded byNew Creation
Minister for Education
In office
25 May 2016 – 2 March 2017
First MinisterArlene Foster
Deputy First MinisterMartin McGuinness
Preceded byJohn O'Dowd
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born (1968-11-21) 21 November 1968 (age 50)
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Political partyDUP (2002-present)
UUP (until 2001)
Alma materQueen's University Belfast
WebsiteOfficial website

Peter Weir MLA (born 21 November 1968) is a Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party politician.[1] On 25 May 2016, Weir became the first non-Sinn Féin legislator (following Martin McGuinness, Caitríona Ruane, and John O'Dowd) to head the province's Department of Education since the department came into existence on 2 December 1999.


A past chairman of the Young Unionists (the UUP Youth Wing), Weir is a barrister by profession. He attended Bangor Grammar School and graduated from the Queen's University of Belfast in Law and Accountancy. He was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1992 and is a former editor of the Ulster Review. Weir has been a member of the Queen's University Senate since 1996 and is also leading member of the University Convocation. He was elected to the Northern Ireland Peace Forum in 1996 for the constituency of North Down.

Weir refused to support the Belfast Agreement of 1998, saying in one television interview that the only positive comment he could summon for the Agreement was that it was "very nicely typed".[2] A leading critic of then-party leader David Trimble's policies, Weir was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 1998 election.[3]

Weir was selected as his party's candidate to fight the 2001 general election in North Down, but a month before the election tensions between him and the party reached the stage where he was deselected and replaced by Sylvia Hermon. Weir was later expelled from the Ulster Unionist Party for refusing to support the re-election of David Trimble as First Minister of Northern Ireland. Following a period as an Independent Unionist, Weir joined the Democratic Unionist Party in 2002.[citation needed]

Since then, he has been re-elected from North Down at each election for the DUP. In the 2005 Westminster election Weir finally stood for North Down, this time for the DUP, but lost to Sylvia, Lady Hermon of the Ulster Unionist Party.[citation needed]

He is a member of the North Down Borough Council and belongs to the Orange Order and the Royal Black Preceptory. He attends Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church.[4]


  1. ^ "Weir Peter". Membership of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Northern Ireland Assembly. Archived from the original on 12 September 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  2. ^ The Long Good Friday, Channel 4 Television, 1999.
  3. ^ Brendan Lynn and Martin Melaugh (4 July 2010). "Biographies of Prominent People - 'W' (Weir Pter)". Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland.
  4. ^ "Councillor Peter Weir MLA - North Down DUP (Democratic Unionists)". Retrieved 15 April 2017.
Northern Ireland Forum
New forum Member for North Down
Forum dissolved
Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly MLA for North Down
Succeeded by
Alan Chambers
Preceded by
Jonathan Bell
MLA for Strangford
Political offices
Preceded by
John O'Dowd
Minister of Education
Office suspended