#skodashuffle Executive Ministers announced

We’ll update the post as the names on the doors of the ministries are revealed. Sounds like many will be named outside the Assembly chamber rather than waiting to be announced as part of business. The Speaker may not be amused.

Executive and Assembly committees

Choice 1 DUP – Finance and Personnel – Sammy Wilson (for 2 years) then Simon Hamilton
Choice 2 SF – Education – John O’Dowd
Choice 3 DUP – Enterprise Trade and Industry – Arlene Foster
Choice 4 UUP – Regional Development – Danny Kennedy
Choice 5 SF – Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill
Choice 6 SDLP – Environment – Alex Attwood
Choice 7 DUP – Social Development – Nelson McCausland
Choice 8 SF – Culture Arts and Leisure – Carál Ní Chuilín
Choice 9 DUP – Health – Edwin Poots (for 2 years), then Jim Wells
Choice 10 Alliance – Employment and Learning – Stephen Farry

non-d’Hondt – Justice – David Ford
OFMdFM Junior ministers – Jonathan Bell, Martina Anderson

Committee Chairs

Finance & Personnel – Chair = Conor Murphy (SF); Deputy chair = Dominic Bradley (SDLP)
Education – Chair = Mervyn Storey (DUP); Deputy chair = David McNarry (UUP)
Enterprise Trade & Industry – Chair = Alban Maginness (SDLP); Deputy chair = Daithí McKay (SF)
Regional Development – Chair = Jimmy Spratt (DUP); Deputy chair = Pat Doherty (SF)
Agriculture and Rural Development – Chair = Paul Frew (DUP); Deputy chair = Dolores Kelly (SDLP)
Environment – Chair = Anna Lo (Alliance); Deputy chair = Simon Hamilton (DUP)
Social Development – Chair = Alex Maskey (SF); Deputy chair = Mickey Brady (SF)
Culture Arts & Leisure – Chair = Michelle McIlveen (DUP); Deputy chair = William Irwin (DUP)
Health – Chair = Michelle Gildernew (SF), Deputy chair = Jim Wells (DUP)
Employment & Learning – Chair = Basil McCrea (UUP); Deputy chair = Tom Buchanan (DUP)

Justice – Chair = Paul Givan (DUP); Deputy chair – Raymond McCartney (SF)
OFMdFM – Chair = Tom Elliott (UUP); Deputy chair = Chris Lyttle (Alliance)

Assembly Executive Review – Chair = Stephen Moutray (DUP); Deputy chair = Pat Sheehan (SF)
Public Accounts (PAC) – Chair = Paul Maskey (SF); Deputy chair = Joe Byrne (SDLP)
Procedures – Sue Ramsey (SF); Deputy chair = Trevor Clarke (DUP)
Standards & Privileges – Alastair Ross (DUP); Deputy chair = Kieran McCarthy (Alliance)
Audit – Chair = Danny Kinahan (UUP); Deputy chair = David Hilditch (DUP)

Other party announcements …

NI Police Board nominees
* DUP = Robin Newton, Jonathan Craig, Ian McCrea, Adrian McQuillan
* SF = Gerry Kelly, Pat Sheehan, Caitríona Ruane

DUP Assembly Private Secretaries (non-salaried)
* OFMdFM – Paul Girvan
* DFP – Simon Hamilton
* DETI – Alastair Ross
* DSD – William Humphrey
* Health – Alex Easton

SF chief advisor in OFMdFM – Vincent Parker (replacing Keiran Quinn)

SF Chief Whip in Assembly is Jennifer McCann; deputy Chief Whip is Paul Maskey

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  • Big Boss

    Another poor choice from Margaret Ritchie and the SDLP. While Attwood will be a decent minister as he has proven in the past, giving him a bigger profile will do nothing to increase the SDLP vote, it will not do anything to encourage new people to them, and even with the DSD they still failed to make any impact in West Belfast. A pointless appointment.

    Should have went to Bradly (at least they have a chance of getting 2 seats in N&A).. Kelly who needs the profile boost to hang on to upper bann next time.. McGlone because they need something in the west to boost them.

    poor poor poor

  • Mick Fealty

    I think the choice of Alex Attwood is worth a blog on its own. As you say, he’s been a decent Minister and a safe pair of hands. But the profile he’s had has not improved his electoral performance.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Guesses on SF’s appointments?

    Education – Caral Ni Chuilin
    Agriculture and Rural Development John O’Dowd
    Culture Arts and Leisure – Martina Anderson
    OFMdFM Junior ministers – Michelle O’Neill

  • Big Boss

    Look forward to it mick!

  • Scáth Shéamais


    Education – John O’Dowd
    Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill
    Culture Arts and Leisure – Martina Anderson
    OFMdFM Junior ministers – Caral Ni Chuilin

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Dammit, nevermind.

  • Interesting, appointing Ministers with inbuilt obsolescence

    Sammy Wilson to be replaced by Simon Hamilton after 2 years, and Edwin Poots to be replaced by Jim Wells after 2 years;and there’s a balance of sorts with Catriona Ruane, Conor Murphy, and Michelle Gildernew past their sell by dates.

  • Cynic2

    O’Dowd can do business at Education

  • Cynic2

    Big Boss

    These are Ministerial Posts and need to be filled buy those who can do the job.

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting that Conor Murphy goes, and Michelle Gildernew. And Gerry Kelly gets ‘demoted’. Let’s where else they turn up (chair/vice chairs?)

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s a theory that Caitriona’s poor performance came from the micro management from elsewhere. May not be too clever to ruin John O’D’s future when he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the new intake.

  • iluvni

    I suggest they re-name The Speaker as The Mumbler. Hay is dreadful.

  • Drumlins Rock

    so Sammy and Edwin have only 2 years, does that mean Arelene and Nelson are guaranteed 4/5? at the end of that time Arelene will have to shown some very tangible results to retain her position as heir presumptive, Nelson is more of a loose cannon, lots of places to put his foot in it.

    From one South Tyrone Michelle to another, agriculture might not see that much change, but the impression I have got is she is more than capable and change was the right thing. I have found her to be charming but shrewd.

    As for Alex, I am always deeply concerned when city folk are in charge of the environment, their grasp of country reality often poor to say the least, Patsy should have got it, if nothing else to boost the Party in Tyrone & Fermanagh.

  • socialdemocrat

    Big Boss and Mick Fealty,

    Firstly, surely decisions made on Ministerial positions should be made on ability and not motivated by popularity. Many people across all parties would acknowledge that although Alex Attwood is not the most popular SDLP representative, he is certainly amongst the most capable across the whole assembly. His performance and track record as DSD minister in my mind puts him at the top of the list of SDLP members to sit on the executive.

    Secondly, most would acknowledge that the SDLP are in decline. In West Belfast, probably the most difficult constituency in the North for an SDLP candidate, Alex Attwood consolidated his vote and gained 1%. In a period of a decline in SDLP popularity, I don’t know how you can say his electoral performance has not improved as a result of his ministry. In addition, even if it had not, that still does not take away from the fact he is the right man for the job!

    Everything in context gentlemen. Let’s not get personal.

  • oracle

    I don’t want the health minister changed after 2 years it is a massive and complex portfolio and takes 2 years just to get a grasp on the brief.

    If the DUP have problems keeping the party members happy and on board tough… where else will they go? they’ve been sweetened enough with a 50k a year job for being elected to a job were the actual labour of work involved is very questionable indeed.

  • oracle

    I hope the public sit and think about the people put forward to be ministers….
    If that’s not their party’s best candidate why are we being cheated as voters!

    If that is the party’s best candidates.. what shite did we elect

  • Big Boss


    Something tells me that Attwood didn’t get this job because of ability but because his position to Ritchie. Im not taking anything away from him in ability but id question if he is indeed the most qualified in the SDLP to hold the post of Environment minister and i know of other SDLP MLAs who have more experience in planning issues etc

    the SDLP shouldn’t be using the excuse of WB being the “hardest” constituency in the north. 10 years ago they had 2 MLAs, now they are just barely getting one and to boast about going up 1% after the SF leader stepped down and 2 years with a minister is very poor indeed. Id be very interested indeed to see how many branches the party has in West Belfast, and if indeed the membership is over 20 id be shocked.

    The SDLP are in decline because the party have made bad choices in candidates and selections. This is another poor example of an appointment that will not benefit them in anyway.

    SF appointed John O’Dowd, clearly as an way to boost party support in Upper-bann and knock out Kelly next time round. They have got all their Mid-ulster MLAs O’Neill, McGuinness and Molly in high profile positions and they are chasing 4 seats.

    Anderson is getting to be a JM, with SF breathing down SDLP necks in Foyle.

    All the while the SDLP give their only high profile position to a place where it will have the least effect. Bad politics and id be very surprised if there wasn’t a internal reaction to this.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’ll give what you said some thought before posting. Be assured I don’t see the issue as personal in the least. The truth is the SDLP’s performance in elections is patchy.

    Dominic Bradley seems to be turning things round in Newry and Armagh. As does McGlone, on a more modest scale in Mid Ulster. The Derry wans have done reasonably well, at managing a succession too (though Callaghan’s a big loss).

    Some bad stuff is coming down the line though. If S Belfast Goes, so does Alisdair’s seat (a chunk of which will get folded into East and West, where the SDLP is already minority pursuit).

    I agree that Alex is a competent minister material. But the party is also wasting away under his feet in West Belfast.

    The SDLP is already considered to be a footnote in history by much of the media, and with good reason. This is just more of the same.

    More later…

  • joeCanuck


    I disagree (a bit). New jobs typically take, at most, 6 months to get on top of them.

  • perseus

    sorry but Mr.Poots is not ministerial quality, esp Health.
    Have no probs with him as a ministerial chauffeur
    seems like a perfect fit; stiff and formal and obsequious.
    their brief is NOT to speak.

    Delighted about John O’Dowd, he is the real mccoy.
    Mick, he’s just going to have to make a success of it.
    We’re all suprised at SF not taking an economic portfolio;
    seems like a perfect opportunity which was ducked.
    too many aul marxists in the camp bit-chomping on theory.? its disappointing.

  • granni trixie

    Agree with those above pointing out that party interests should be lesser than that of the country in appointing Ministers. Also:

    I applaud SF for sticking to their guns as regards not retaining the 11Plus but as a teacher and parent I breathed a sigh of relief when Catrina was not appointed to Education (the unthinkable predicted by some over the weekend).Plus John O’Dowd has shown himself to be ministerial material when he tried to bail out Catrina. PR remarks on the 11+ issue in lead up to election looks like consensus is possible.

    And what is DUPs SW appointment all about? A sign he is to give up double jobbing within 2 years?. As for SDLp, agree Attwood is safe pair of hands but as with the UUP not sure that Margaret has much of a pool from which to select.

    Naturally I look forward to seeing Stephen Farry get to work on challenges in DEL- he is not known as brainy within APNI for no good reason.

  • iluvni

    Congratulations to Sammy Wilson on his re-appointment to his 3rd full-time job.

    Lets hope his 36.8% voting record in the House of Commons doesnt suffer too much and he is able to continue to demonstrate his impressive ability to partake fully in debates whilst not being there.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    An ill-educated oaf in charge of Education. Says it all really.

  • socialdemocrat

    Big Boss,

    I do take your points. Yes, Attwood’s position to Ritchie of course plays its part. I think however you over-estimate its role here. There are plenty of other SDLP members with a closer relationship or at least as close a relationship. Conall McDevitt and Dolores Kelly come to mind here. I am making the assumption that the person you are referring to is Patsy McGlone (granted, i could be wrong). If we look at the breakdown of the results, a second seat in Mid Ulster is as unlikely as a second seat in West Belfast. Not due, in my opinion to McGlone and Attwood, but due to a general decline in the SDLP vote. I think due the nature of the two constituencies, the WB seat is more danger than the Mid-Ulster seat and again i think attributing this to either McGlone or Attwood would be a mistake.

    If we look at the figuires, which I will link for your convenience, we can see that in the context of the overall SDLP result, a 1% increase is something to note. An excellant result no doubt for Bradley in Newry and Armagh but an isolated one. Throughout the rest of the constituencies, the SDLP vote declined. So therefore, taking into consideration the context of the overall vote, I think any increase in the vote in WB is a good result considering it was one of very few increases.

    In my opinion, considering the level resources and support for SF in WB, I feel you over-estimate the impact of Adams stepping down. Yes, there were 2 MLAs at one stage, but i think the fact that we no longer have 2 is no reflection on Attwood but rather an overall decline in the SDLP vote.

    So I take your points but we shall have to agree to disagree. I am still very much of the opinion that Attwood was the right appointment.

  • Sean Og

    Play the ball!

  • socialdemocrat
  • Crubeen

    Could we perhaps start a speculative thread on the subject of “How long will it take the Civil Service to house-train the new Ministers?”

  • streetlegal

    Oh well – at least Michelle O’Neill is easy on the eye. I think Peter Robinson missed a trick there in not promoting Michelle Mclveen.

  • Big Boss


    with regards to the the two you mentioned with closer relationships to Ritchie, i wouldn’t have minded seeing Kelly get the nod, as she could do with the bigger profile, indeed since O’Dowd is now minister of Education which will make her look even smaller come next election.

    I wasnt referring really to anyone, but im from F/ST and i can see how the local media will eat up having 3 big names in Mid-ulster and i think McGlone will have a very hard time battling against that for publicity. While i agree that the chances of a 2nd seat in MU is unlikely, having an SDLP minister in the west would help to battle the ever increasing shinner vote. they where close to 4 in WT, not shy of 4 in MU and now 3 in F/ST, you would think that any chance to combat that would be taken by the party instead of keeping everything Belfast based where it will do no good.

    I know Alex will do a fine job, but u have stated the problem the SDLP have, which is decline, and him as minister will not help to put a stop to that. I believe someone Bradly, Kelly, McGlone or McDevitt would have brought something new and been able to reach new people. Attwood doesn’t have that ability and indeed i think he needs to spend more time in west Belfast helping to build up the SDLP there.

  • granni trixie

    streetlegal: lets have no more put downs like that ..if you were less concerned with her being easy on the eye, you might have noticed if she is capable or not.
    Me. I dont know who she is.

  • joeCanuck

    No Catriona anywhere! Has she been sent to Coventry Columbia?

    What time does the street parties begin? This could bring people together and lead to the demolishing of the “peace” walls.

  • patio dev

    Agree with granni trixie re streetlegal’s comments.
    Most appear pleased it’s O’Dowd, I hope they are right, it just reminds me off when Brown replaced Blair, everyone pleased Blair had left. O’Dowd appears competent in front of the media, handling the civil service, teachers unions and parents whilst walking the old sectarian tightrope will test his skills no doubt.

  • Looks like Sinn Fein took the 1st 3 Ministries in the alphabet. Did someone snip off the bottom of their list?

  • joeCanuck

    I didn’t understand in the least what the “Skoda” meant. Thanks for explaining Mr.Mallie.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I applaud SF for sticking to their guns

    Er, or maybe not.

  • drumcairnharp

    Were is Tom’s babes? The uup had 2 get women on the ticket now he seems to be ignoring them. Overend would know all about agriculture as she says herself “she is married to a mad pig farmer” and about planning while Dobson knows about everything. Is Tom taking his revenge on Dobson 4 criticing his “scum fein” remarks.

  • After all the alleged bluffing and double bluffing (remarkably like huffing and puffing) I hear they’ve given themselves the day (Tuesday) off. I’d be more impressed by a few extra shifts.

    Start as you mean to go on boys and girls. What’s that you say? That’s exactly what you have done!

  • FuturePhysicist

    Maybe the SDLP have learnt from SF, appointing candidates as ministers does not guarantee seat e.g. Ruane.