Peter Weir (politician)

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Peter Weir
MLA
Peter Weir MLA.jpg
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Strangford
Assumed office
2 March 2017
Preceded by Jonathan Bell
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for North Down
In office
25 June 1998 – 26 January 2017
Preceded by New Creation
Minister for Education
In office
25 May 2016 – 2 March 2017
First Minister Arlene Foster
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Preceded by John O'Dowd
Succeeded by Vacant
Personal details
Born (1968-11-21) 21 November 1968 (age 48)
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party DUP (2002-present)
UUP (until 2001)
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Barrister
Website Official 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.

Career[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weir Peter". Membership of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Northern Ireland Assembly. 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. cain.ulst.ac.uk. 
  4. ^ "Councillor Peter Weir MLA - North Down DUP (Democratic Unionists)". Nddup.org.uk. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
Northern Ireland Forum
Preceded by
New creation
Member for North Down
1996 - 1998
Succeeded by
Forum abolished
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for North Down
1998 - 2017
Succeeded by
Alan Chambers
Preceded by
Jonathan Bell
MLA for Strangford
2017 - present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
John O'Dowd
Minister of Education
2016 - 2017
Succeeded by
Vacant