The New Executive Tweeted live… (updated with chairs/vice chairs)

So the d’Hondt Bingo competition is over, announcement Monday…  So far on Twitter from the NI Executive Tweets we have:

Choice 1 DUP – Finance and Personnel

Choice 2 SF – Education

Choice 3 DUP – Enterprise Trade and Industry

Choice 4 UUP – Regional Development

Choice 5 SF – Agriculture and Rural Development

Choice 6 SDLP – Environment

Choice 7  DUP – Social Development

Choice 8 SF – Culture Arts and Leisure

Choice 9  DUP – Health

Choice 10 Alliance – Employment and Learning

In terms of committee chairs and vice chairs …

# Statutory committees

Justice – Chair DUP; Deputy chair SF
Finance & Personnel – Chair SF; Deputy chair, SDLP
Education – Chair DUP; Deputy chair, UUP
OFMDFM – Chair UUP; Deputy chair, Alliance
Health – Chair SF; Deputy chair, DUP
DETI – Chair SDLP; Deputy chair, SF
DARD – Chair DARD; Deputy chair, SDLP
DSD – Chair SF; Deputy chair, SF
DCAL – Chair DUP; Deputy chair, DUP
DOE – Chair Alliance; Deputy chair, DUP
DEL – Chair UUP; Deputy chair, DUP
DRD – Chair DUP; Deputy chair, SF

# Standing committees

Assembly & Executive Review Committee – Chair DUP; Vice chair SF
Public Accounts Committee – Chair SF; Vice chair SDLP
Standards & Privileges – Chair DUP; Vice chair Alliance
Procedures – Chair SF; Vice chair DUP
Audit – Chris UUP; Vice chair DUP

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, DRD is Regional development. ie. roads & NIW

    I don’t think parties holding the same portfolios is that great an idea however, although blaming their predecessors is not an option. DSD might be a poison chalice for the DUP with the new disability assessments coming online soon!

  • Mr Crumlin

    Genuinely surprised the Shinners have taken education as their first pick. All the talk was they would take DETI.

  • Drumlins Rock

    PS, does this mean the A5WTC is at risk? 🙂

  • OMalley2011

    Any thoughts on which oracles of wisdom will be filling these posts?

  • Cahir O’Doherty

    Well, there goes my chance of winning a Slugger mug!

    Have to admit though I really though Sinn Fein would pick DETI over Education! I wonder who’ll get the portfolio, I imagine it will not be ‘most popular MLA of the year’ Catriona Ruane!

    I did have a hope that Alliance would be lumped with Agriculture, just because they only really exist in Greater Belfast!

    Also surprised that DCAL was that far down the list..

  • iluvni

    First thing then for UUP…..reverse the scandalous decision to mothball the A2 scheme. Get it built.

  • Drumlins Rock

    iluvni, that is obviously linked to the A5 decision, so I would be hopeful there.

    Here is a long shot but how about wee Barry in Agriculture? here are the rest of my guesses.

    Sammy DFP, O’Dowd DENI, Foster still? DETI, Kennedy DRD, Barry on the farm :), Conal at DOE? nah make it.. whos left?, Hamilton for the Dole, Catrina at DCAL !, Well’s to make us well, and Farry to mimic their mainland sister party fighting students.

  • jeep55

    UUP leader Tom Elliot is anti A5 upgrade – one of the few things where I agree with him. He would prefer the money to be invested in relaying the Portadown-Derry rail link. Given that it was his own party who removed the link in 1965 and left towns like Strabane (a railway town) with a massive unemployment problem, I think that is only putting past wrongs right.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark will be reporting back on Slugger Mug issues and other issues… Interesting that Health was left to second last…

    We have a culture of playing it safe, rather than taking responsibilty. 50% of Revenue is spent in that department, and the DUP took it last choice, to spare everyone else the embarrassment of leaving it to the smallest party in the Executive.

    Innovative use of Twitter by the Executive, though the Assembly might have something to say about ‘informal dHondt’…

  • iluvni

    Will the new Sports minister attend a Northern Ireland match at Windsor Park?
    I think we should be told.

  • Black day for journos.

    No speculation, informed or otherwise, came anywhere near to predicting this.

    Announcements made by Twitter.

    You’ve been well and truly dissed.

  • wiganpier

    Sinn Fein have shyed away from an economic brief, and anything that will require cuts (ie, social development).

    They can’t allow anything to make their all-island programme incoherent, so now they have licence to continue with their ‘sixth-form’ marxist rhetoric in the south. I’m afraid the ‘leadership’ they talked about in the post-election analysis just isn’t here. Real leadership would require tough decesions. Sinn Fein’s consequentialist ethic of anything for a united ireland continues – their ministerial choices highlights this…….they’re simply not interested in providing good goverance for the North.

    I think the two larger parties have a duty to take on the tricky briefs.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Jeep, I’m not sure Tom ever mentioned the rail link, which is a side issue in the A5 debate, blaming him for a party decision when he was still a baby is probably stretching things but about all the DUP could bring up when I discussed the A5 with them.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Here’s a ridiculous thought – some sort of education job for Dawn Purvis – I know it’s mad…

  • Joe Bloggs

    I would also like to see the new Sports Minister showing his/her support for the Northern Ireland football team.

  • andnowwhat

    Does anyone else see a conflict with the same party holding finance and health?

    BTW, avoiding health by SF was just plain cowardly IMHO

  • Mick – I think you’ll be seeing a lot more informal comms from Executive 2.0!

  • All that buddy buddy during the election and the yes we can executive to follow . So much hot air.

    Education, the fault lines are still there and it will take more than John O’Dowd to prevent seismic tremors. Unless of course the Dickson plan has been sold to the DUP.

    And Health, identified as the major priority during the election, was nearly wished off the list of departments and in fact SF, SDLP, UUP got their wish. What a retreat from responsibility, in fact what a shower.

  • andnowwhat

    Mr Crumlin (profile) 13 May 2011 at 7:10 pm
    Here’s a ridiculous thought – some sort of education job for Dawn Purvis – I know it’s mad…

    Why not? They do it in GB and other countries. ie non elected people holding briefs.

  • Comrade Stalin

    UUP leader Tom Elliot is anti A5 upgrade – one of the few things where I agree with him. He would prefer the money to be invested in relaying the Portadown-Derry rail link.

    Reinstating that rail link would cost many times the budget of the A5 upgrade.

    The UUP will certainly win brownie points if they cancel that white elephant and use the funds, for example, to complete the A2 widening project at Greenisland.

    SF’s game is reasonably straightforward. With the DCAL brief I’m sure they’ll get the ball rolling on the Maze business.

  • ayeYerMa

    looks like we’re going to continue to have a divisive and sectarian education system then for the next 30 years…

  • Drumlins Rock

    CS, I am unaware of any serious proposal to re-instate the rail-line, whereas using the A5 money better is certainly high on the agenda I imagine.

    With regards DCAL, SF will get to push many of their hobby horses along, the Maze shrine, GAA and Irish Language, which will create tensions with their DUP partners, however the cost of these issues might come back to haunt them, do we really need the stadia upgrade spend atm? what viable development is suitable for the maze site? and how will they manage the UK City of Culture and a very British Cultural Olympiad.

  • The Raven

    Is no one here in favour of a bit of forward thinking, rail-wise…??

  • Chris Donnelly

    Will the new Sports minister attend a Northern Ireland match at Windsor Park?
    I think we should be told.

    I’m sure attendance wouldn’t be a problem, not now that the eligibility dispute has been resolved for good.

    You’ll not be seeing any change in the Sinn Fein line, which is essentially that, this side of the establishment of an all-Ireland team, northerners should have the right to represent either international side.

  • Post now updated with the party choices for committee chairs and vice chairs.

    Over on Facebook, Naomi Long has said that the Alliance DEL minister is “Likely to be Stephen Farry”

  • joeCanuck

    Why give a goody job to someone who was rejected by the electorate? There must be many other hard working volunteers who could receive the post.

  • thethoughtfulone

    Absolute shame on the DUP for allowing the sinners to keep the hold of education after all their posturing over the past number of years. They were the only ones who could stop them and they didn’t, how will any DUP member have the nerve to complain about education policy over the life of this assembly?

  • thethoughtfulone

    “Is no one here in favour of a bit of forward thinking, rail-wise…??”

    Even being as “forward thinking” as one dares, the Belfast – Derry/Londonderry line will be capable of eating up as much finance as NITHC will be able to get their hands on for the foreseeable future without having any other lines to worry about.

    So while I can agree with the sense of having it, practicalities will probably keep it as an aspiration rather than a reality for quite a few executive terms to come.


  • An Ceide

    I said the other day Sinn Fein would take education because I don’t think they could bare the thought of another party withdrawing funding for irish medium schools.

    I guess finance is more important to the DUP, I’m sure a lot of their new voters will not be impressed with them giving up the chance to right sinn fein’s so called wrongs.

    Will the UUP take another kick at the north west and Derry public by scrapping the A5 project, I think they seem to have a problem with anything the south is also funding.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Is no one here in favour of a bit of forward thinking, rail-wise…??

    Totally up for it. Here’s what I’d call forward thinking :

    * Creating a single multi-modal stored-value ticketing system for Northern Ireland, or at least greater Belfast, a la Oyster.

    * Subsidizing the cost of public transport to encourage uptake.

    * Buying more rolling stock to increase service frequencies

    * Introducing a 90-minute clockface timetable service between Belfast and Dublin; a two-hourly clockface service between Belfast and Derry

    * Increasing funding and reducing congestion by introducing toll roads on major routes that are already served by good public transport, and introducing car sharing subsidies

    * cancelling the stupid misguided bus system planned by Translink; building quality bus corridors for major routes, with a view to establishing a tram system in the medium-long term

    * Close a wider ring of Belfast City Centre to cars, permitting business and public transport traffic only.

    These are things that would lead to real benefits for commuters in NI. We must first make the case that relatively small changes/investment in public transport leads to the increased satisfaction of the public, which in turn leads to greater support for more expensive schemes. It won’t be without pain for some, as to be frank in Northern Ireland we are too damn lazy and too addicted to our cars.

    Building stupid pet project railways through rural areas between low-density large towns is stupid.

  • joeCanuck

    Wow Comrade. You’ve given that some thought. Some great ideas. Apply for a job.

  • iluvni

    a great idea to introduce tolls on some of NI’s roads?
    Beyond stupid if you ask me.

  • joeCanuck

    No iluvi;
    It’s a good way to raise money for futher improvements. We have a toll road around the greater Toronto area. It was started by the Provincial Government but then sold to a European company. They have expanded it greatly using the revenue for the expansion. It’s fast.

  • Obelisk

    Some commentators here almost salivating with delight at the prospect of the cancellation of the A5 road. The vast majority of people here seem to SUPPORT the road, and it’s cancellation so that more money is freed to upgrade Belfast infrastructure is not something we will take well.

    And no, building a project of this magnitude is not a silly vanity project, to me it’s an example of circular logic. The economy in my local area is depressed, in large part due to the lack of infrastructure, so the traffic that currently uses the dreadful and dilapidated A5 isn’t overwhelmingly heavy (except when the farmers so opposed to the road lovingly drive their tractors down it at all of ten miles per hour causing tailbacks). But if the road was built, we could attract more investment, and hopefully a volume of traffic worthy of the road in the first place.

    The A5 upgrade isn’t going to die simply because the UUP say so.

  • iluvni

    I appreciate the principle, JC, but no road in Northern Ireland is suitable for tolling.

  • Comrade Stalin

    a great idea to introduce tolls on some of NI’s roads?
    Beyond stupid if you ask me.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. I live in Whiteabbey, 7 miles outside of Belfast, a ten minute walk from a train station, but I drive to work (by myself) every day. The brutal reality is that it’s just too damn handy to drive in by car on that 8-lane motorway. If a monthly train ticket was a shade cheaper, the train was a shade more frequent, and the car was a shade more expensive then the decision would be easier.

    The Westlink took about 65,000 cars per day in 2004. I assume that is averaged over a week, so that’s 23m cars per year. A 50p toll is yielding net £11.5m per year. That’s about 4 new trains. Per year.

    I don’t think tolls piss people off that much. Nobody will tell you that they like paying them. But provided the motorway is kept to a high standard (which our network already is – I’d argue that it’s kept better than Dublin’s M50 which is EUR2.00 per trip!) people will pay it, just like they pay for it in Dublin. Indeed the evidence shows that a 25% increase in fuel costs hasn’t dented the traffic levels.

    The important detail here, Joe, would be that there would be no overall increase in the public spending on roads. It’s already very high in Northern Ireland. The prime function is to raise more money to fund public transportation as well as encouraging people out of their cars.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The A5 upgrade isn’t going to die simply because the UUP say so.

    It’s not just the UUP saying so.

  • Obelisk

    Don’t under-estimate the political backlash from an area that will have seen the one serious infrastructure upgrade they’ve been promised in several decades scrapped to placate the UUP’s last remaining constituency of rural Farmers.
    The new road holds such promise for our area and for it be taken away is a deeply upsetting thought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sorry to witter on.

    The really stupid thing around here is that NI’s major motorway networks all have a railway running nearly parallel to them. People sit in clogged traffic watching the trains whizz by on the A2 to Bangor, the M2 between Nelson St and the foreshore and (to a lesser extent) the M1 esp. between Black’s Rd and Broadway.

    There really is no excuse for this except people being lazy.

  • joeCanuck


    Ideally it has to be a motoryway and you have the M1 and M2. The Americans also manage it on some of their “A” type roads. You just drive on and can drive off again without having to pay; so savvy local users don’t have to pay. If you stay on the road, however, sooner or later you will arrive at a toll booth where you pay a small fee.

  • joeCanuck

    There are no toll booths on the toll road around Toronto. Regular users can buy a transponder (commercial trucks must) and you get a monthly bill. Cars which don’t have a transpoder have a photo of their rear licence plate taken automatically and a bill is sent.

  • oracle

    Not get a slugger mug… with my predictions i’d stuggle to get splashed by its contents

  • oracle

    Actually SF have really copped out, they took Agriculture which is as safe as a row of houses so long as they’re not built in the country on your fathers land!
    Oh and we don’t get hit by foot and mouth, although that’s unlikely as John O’Dowd will probably take education.

    So instead of taking and Economic post where their ability to govern would be fully exposed or Health to protect lower paid jobs and battle the creep of privatization, they instead decided to waste millions on a mini museum in the arse-hole of nowhere that’ll struggle to get more than 3,000 vistors a year after the first 2 years

  • Junkhead

    Some good instant analysis from the student movement here over Alliance picking DEL:

  • Comrade Stalin

    The new road holds such promise for our area and for it be taken away is a deeply upsetting thought.

    I feel your pain. we’ve been promised the A2 widening here for the guts of 30 years.

  • iluvni

    Comrade Stalin,
    The abandoned houses on the A2 route look so well now, dont they?

    Maybe Roy Beggs Jr will get the nod for the Ministry and in combination with the triple-jobbing MP/MLA/Finance Minister will finally be able to deliver the scheme to conclusion.

  • Zig70

    I’m for the A5 road, it takes folks from Donegal 4hrs to get to Dublin. That way they won’t be tempted to go to Belfast instead. The A2, get on yer bike, it’s only a wee jaunt to Belfast. All those people in the car on the A2 on their own when there is a perfectly good hyper expensive train. For once I’m with CS, the train is a rip off, especially if you don’t use it with military regularity. Translink need a red army invasion.
    Hopefully SF will appoint someone who schools their kids in NI to education this time.

  • Zig70

    It costs me less to drive a 3l petrol car to Belfast (moderately) that to take a 150tonne train from J’town. Trains green, my *rse. Slightly off topic, sorry. I’d like to see an SF minister at Windsor park and Ravenhill, don’t think there will be an issue. Just a pity it won’t be at an stadium like the Aviva.

  • Mick Fealty

    As Mark has argued elsewhere on the prediction thread, the treatment of Health by those parties which have a choice is a indicator of how crucial spending departments have become toxic in a cabinet where collective responsibility has become, by and large, a fictional reference.

    At least this time DFP will be lining up alongside with rather than against Health. Expect some front window reforms alongside ostentatious cuts to other departments made in aid of saving our NHS.

    Your health is now in DUP hands…

  • Driftwood

    Transport need a separate thread/agenda.
    Why does Translink have a monopoly on public transport here?
    Why can we not have private companies competing on the main routes in and out of Belfast? A no brainer.
    On health- close the parochial A&E hospitals.

  • Comrade Stalin


    We could also use the scheme they have in the south whereby you can get your annual train ticket through your employer tax free. I suspect that’ll have to come from London though.

  • Mick Fealty

    An Ceide,

    Good spot. In the several threads we’ve had on the A5, I cannot see where the alternative goodies are. Or how the UUP will get the cash out of DFP to pay for them.

    Once again, Mr Elliott’s gut rural politics will be forced to confront the urban-centric reality of Stormont-on-the-hill.

    I think the SDLP have lucked out a wee bit. Environment should have a role in the RPA negotiations and they have some influence over planning.

    No big money pots (but we’ve seen the vulnerability of spending departments to shrinking budgets), but it will get the Minister out and about in the countryside, which is one place the SDLP definitely need to be.

    The Fermanagh Herald/Impartial Reporter are much more important to their fight back than a south Belfast media (to reference FJH) some of whose most influential players have already written them off.

  • Driftwood

    On Education
    The regional minister needs to take a lead from their boss in London:
    Gove is in charge of the exam system in England , Wales and NI. The devolved ‘minister’ here needs to acknowledge that.

  • Mick Fealty


    Re Translink, it is simple. It’s because you need legislation to effect such a profound change.

    It is fantasy politics of Caitriona Ruane proportions to think you can achieve that without without a sufficient consensus on BOTH sides of the Castle.

    Re Education, all you have done is link a lecture by the head of Charterhouse School saying what a great idea it would be if we had academic selection. Where in the Northern Ireland Act does it even remotely suggest that Education is either a reserved or excepted matter?

  • Mike the First

    Chris Donnelly:

    “I’m sure attendance wouldn’t be a problem, not now that the eligibility dispute has been resolved for good.

    You’ll not be seeing any change in the Sinn Fein line, which is essentially that, this side of the establishment of an all-Ireland team, northerners should have the right to represent either international side.”

    I’d settle for the new Minister wishing the team well, referring to it by its proper name, and not making any misleading statements about it or its support.

  • H20

    As a puzzled NIW member of staff can anyone shine any light on UUP’s plans for the Water Company – privatisation or no?

    Their manifesto is very non-commital in that regard.

    Mick et al?

  • Driftwood

    The Telegraph link, there was a previous one about the dumbing down of exams and modules and building up the FE sector by Michael Gove. The point being, the regional education minister here cannot ignore his reforms. He is going to reform the whole system, get rid of modular exams, transfer at 14 to FE college etc and the ‘local’ minister cannot ignore this, as they are funded from Westminster. DEL will also be part of this change, so the Alliance ‘minister’ will have a baptism of fire.
    it may come to a ‘Westminster or Stormont’ firefight. Onlt one winner there.

  • Mick Fealty

    OFMDFM is still the critical department for a policy move of that scale H20. Neither party have the will to privatise. The UUP minister will have to be led on that one. Their performance on the PAC investigation does not inspire much confidence they know which way is up.

    DUP wants mutualisation and the company off the books. SF say they want it back in the department (even though Conor excepted that the department could not afford it).

    Now they have ejected their Minister out of that mess, and the size of the dent NIW is putting on the budget, I would expect it to get resolved closer to the DUP’s.

  • NIW: the UUP have pinched the Green proposal for mutualising water. But haven’t said anything about meters.

    On the committee choices: why are there no committees run by the actual opposition (any of the three)? If you want proper scrutiny of government departments, it is somewhat chancy to leave it up to members who also have a Minister in the Executive.

  • It is interesting to note that Sinn Fein have taken culture.

    What you will now see is the development of a strategy for promotion of the Irish Language – something that the department has hitherto done very little about. SF may also try to introduce another Irish Language Act – fairly certain to be defeated but will act as a nice focus for sectarian histrionics.

    Perhaps, however, they might be more sensible about the Ulster Museum.

  • Comrade Stalin


    You might have a case for that idea if the three non-government MLAs were aligned somehow under a common banner.

    This is the crappy part of the whole setup at Stormont. It’s designed to marginalize those who cannot obtain enough seats to participate in the executive.