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Monday, 29 May, 2000, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
The Stormont ministers
Stormont buildings: Home to the assembly
Stormont buildings: Home to the assembly
Ministers first nominated by Northern Ireland's political parties to take office in the province's first government for 25 years are returning to their posts following the Ulster Unionist's decision to return to power-sharing government with Sinn Fein.

The executive authority of the assembly is discharged by First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon. There are a further 10 ministers with departmental responsibilities.


Ulster Unionist Party



Sir Reg Empey: Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment

He has been a senior talks negotiator for his party. The former lord mayor of Belfast has a clothing business. He was educated in Armagh and at Queen's University in Belfast. He is married with a family.



Sam Foster: Environment Minister

A surprise in the Ulster Unionist camp, he is a leading member of the Orange Order in Fermanagh and a former B Special and major in the Ulster Defence Regiment. He is a retired social worker. His hobby is bellringing.



Michael McGimpsey: Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister

He was born in Donaghadee,County Down and educated at Regent House, Newtownards, County Down and Trinity College Dublin. A businessman by profession, he and his brother Chris unsuccessfully challenged Articles Two and Three in the Irish courts.


Social Democratic and Labour Party



Mark Durkan: Finance and Personnel Minister

At just 39, he is the youngest minister in the cabinet. He has been a political activist since his student days at Queen's University in Belfast and Magee College in Londonderry. He is best known as the full-time aide of party leader John Hume, a post he has held since 1984.



Sean Farren: Minister for Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment

Mr Farren was born and educated in Dublin and lives in Portstewart, in County Londonderry. He has been prominent in parade disputes in the Dunloy and Harryville areas of County Antrim. He has taught abroad in Switzerland and in Sierra Leone.



Brid Rodgers: Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development.

She is a teacher and an Irish speaker. She was born in Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and went to university in Dublin. She was appointed as a member of the Irish Senate. The SDLP spokesperson on parades, she has campaigned on behalf of the nationalist residents of the Garvaghy Road over the Drumcree dispute. She has six children.


Democratic Unionist Party

The DUP has announced that it is taking its two seats. If it fails in a motion to have Sinn Fein ejected from the executive, the party says the two ministers will be replaced by another two assembly members from within the party to disrupt the workings of the executive. The party says that it will continue this protest indefinitely against the inclusion of Sinn Fein in goverment.

Click here to read the full details of the DUP policy.

The ministers initially holding officer are:



Peter Robinson: Minister for Regional Development

He is the deputy leader of the DUP. In the 80s he was associated with the loyalist organisations the Third Force and Ulster Resistance. Married to fellow assembly member Iris, he is an estate agent by profession. Castlereagh Borough Council named a leisure centre after him.



Nigel Dodds: Minister for Social Development

Educated in Enniskillen before attending St John's College, Cambidge, Nigel Dodds is a barrister by training. A former lord mayor of Belfast, Mr Dodds holds an OBE. The IRA shot and wounded the police bodyguard protecting him as he visited his child in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in December 1996.


Sinn Fein



Martin McGuinness: Education Minister

The lifelong republican is still believed by many to be a senior member of the IRA. He took the Mid-Ulster seat from opponent the Rev William McCrea at the last general election. He is Sinn Fein's representative to the International Commission on Decommissioning. His hobby is fishing.



Bairbre de Brun: Minister for Health and Social Services

Born and educated in Dublin and at Queen's University in Belfast, Ms de Brun is an Irish speaker and a teacher. As Sinn Fein's spokesperson on policing and justice, she came to prominence as a member of her party's talks team. She lists her hobbies in Who's Who as hillwalking, theatre and the cinema.

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See also:

28 Nov 99 | Northern Ireland
Powers of the Northern Ireland assembly
28 Nov 99 | Northern Ireland
The d'Hondt system explained
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