Northern Ireland

Head of State

First Minister

Queen Elizabeth II (since February 1952)

Arlene Foster (Democratic Unionist Party, since January 2016)

Population 1,891,000 (2019)
Size 14,130 km² (5,456 sq. miles)
MEPs 3 (joined the EU in 1973 as part of the UK)
Next Assembly elections 2022
Presidency of the Council None
Last meeting with Boris Johnson 13 January 2020
Brexit priorities Northern-Ireland voted to stay in the EU and the government is seeking a special Brexit deal in order to maintain the invisible border with the Republic of Ireland as well as safeguard the peace process between the two countries.

Northern-Ireland is a member of the joint ministerial committee that coordinates the relationships between Downing Street and the devolved administrations and functions as a platform for discussing all matters related to Brexit.

What the Mrs Foster said on Brexit “I think this is a good result for the United Kingdom. Our nation state has made a clear definition as to where they want to go forward.”

“The UK Government needs to incorporate the views of devolved administrations – we need to be part of the process, not just listened to.”

“We have to recognise that we are in the UK and sometimes I think people forget that.”

“We do want to see a deal but it has to be a deal that works for everybody.”

Northern Ireland’s priorities In a snap election, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein secured the most votes and now have to form an Executive. The deadline for forming a Government has been extended several times. However, parties have still not found an agreement and now there could be another election or the country could come under direct rule from Westminster.

Sinn Féin (nationalist party) now holds one seat fewer in the assembly than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). A bill giving the Irish language the same status as English is one of the sticking points in the negotiations, as the DUP opposes this.

Meanwhile, the general election produced a hung Parliament in which the Conservatives no longer have a majority. They have come to a ‘confidence and supply agreement’ with DUP, which obtained ten seats in the House of Commons, to get to a majority.