Willie Hay to be next Speaker?

Here’s an interesting example (if it proves true) as to how the new found spirit of co-operation between the ‘big two’ could well marginalise the former ‘big two’ considerably more than anyone, that I know of, could have predicted. Willie Hay, the DUP (and Unionism’s) only MLA in Foyle may be in line for the Speaker’s job.

  • Ullans

    The others “in the frame” are David McClarty (UUP, Londonderry East) and, as the article in the Belfast Telegraph says, Alban Maginness (SDLP, Belfast North). Although the smart money has to be on Willie…

  • allister

    As the largest Party the DUP should take the position. This is usually a post for the Alliance but why? Alliance are just a handful of members and they have been rewarded for years filling every quango in Northern Ireland because they have been seen by the NIO as neutral. In this new dispensation neutrality is not the solution it is equality between the our two communities. Indeed is there a role left for Alliance?

  • JD

    Question here: What is the exact status of the Speaker. Do they have to have to step down from there party? They obviously cannot vote so does this have any impact on the numbers game? Another question would do they have to seek re-election. In the twenty six counties in the Oireachtas, the Ceann Comhairle does not have to seek re-election at the next election, he/she is automatically re-elected, as he/she was unable to serve properly their constituents while undertaking the duties of Ceann Comhairle. Is this the case with the Assembly speaker?

    If this is the case Willie Hay is the obvious choice for Sinn Fein as he is untouchable in Foyle and will do them no damage, whereas why give Alban McGuinness a free run in North Belfast.


    ‘more than anyone, that I know of, could have predicted’

    now now Mick, that’s not strictly true.

  • Allister,

    “Indeed is there a role left for Alliance?”

    That’s a question the voters answered in the last election: yes! They have four years to prove them right/wrong.

    As for your first question, they made it clear from the off this time that they had done enough heavy lifting (whoever takes the role has to accept that their constituency work will have to take a back seat). Whatever profile a speaker gains is not generally to the advantage of their party.

    Hay is both widely respect and probably unassailable in Derry, and on that count alone would be a good fit.

  • In the public domain, I guess, is what I meant Urq! 😉

  • Valenciano

    JD, yes the speaker has to seek re-election.

  • Alban wants it – he was pormised it in 1998, but shafted at the eleventh hour by Mowlam who gave it to Alderdice.
    I expect Alban to step down from politics at the next Assembly election. The SDLP have fallen below a quota in North Belfast and the Shinners, with two MLAs, are breathing down their necks for a third seat.
    The Speaker’s position would suit Alban nicely. It would ease him into retirement.

  • JD

    I am reliably informed that his SDLP colleagues on Belfast City Council would mind him easing into retirement either.

  • JD

    Apologies, that should read, ‘wouldn’t mind@

  • austin

    Thanks for clarifying that, Pat The Mayor (sorry, I mean JD)

  • Ullans

    Sources have confirmed that Willie Hay will be Speaker.

  • Pam

    anyone who reads the last thread we had on this topic will see that I said then that Willie would be a likely candidate and would get SF support given that he has shown himself able to work well with them in Derry to get things done

  • Gum

    How is the SDLP organised in North Belfast? Alban seems like he is top dog. Does this sit uneasily with others in the party in Belfast? His performance at each election only gets worse, but who’d be able to bump him?

  • Rubicon

    The DUP have proposed Willie as Speaker to SF. SF have come back with a compromise – they’ll accept Willie for 2 years but he’ll then need to resign so Francie Molloy can take over. It has been left to the DUP to ‘think about’ over Easter.

    Neither the DUP or SF seem keen to appoint a Speaker. SDLP/UUP have nothing to loose in proposing a Speaker – but they know what will happen if they do.

    The Big 2 may agree Willie to get Speaker for 2 years. He’ll then be replaced by Francie Molloy.

    If that happens, expect SF/DUP to rule while destroying their opposition.

  • Bigger Picture


    Im not sure i heard Martin Morgan wanted back in North but others thought he was too much of a threat. Personally i think he’d be just the person to raise the SDLP in north again! Can anyone advise??

  • Dave

    I have a number of questions, does the speaker of the assembly get paid extra?

    In addition to this wont the DUP be worried about loosing the vote of an MLA when it comes to crunch votes?

    Hays constituency work will be sidelined and as he is the only Unionst MLA in his area he has effectively erased his constituency of Unionist representation at Stormont (This could prove to be a bad move).

  • Rubicon

    Dave – Yes, the Speaker does get paid extra.

    With 36 out of the 55 unionist seats the DUP have little to worry about in being able to deliver the unionist majority vote in any cross community vote.

    As regards constituency work, the position of Speaker would limit Hay since the role requires a full time commitment. In addition, the Speaker is required to avoid party politics and this could mean he’d have difficulty in addressing some constituency issues.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “the Speaker is required to avoid party politics”

    So no change for Wullie – the DUP’s watery answer to Dermot Nesbitt-then.

  • Dave


    Thanks for that response, out of interest what salaries do each of the MLA’s command for being speakers or heads of department etc?