Lord Alderdice retires as NI Assembly Speaker

Lord Alderdice has confirmed his retirement as Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly due to his commitments as a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).

He confirmed his retirement from the £48,000-a-year post in a letter to the Secretary of State.

In a letter of reply to Lord Alderdice, Secretary of State Paul Murphy commended Lord Alderdice for his "distinguished service to the Northern Ireland Assembly and for the skill and commitment he and other members are already bringing to the important role of the IMC".

Mr Murphy wrote: "I do of course fully understand the reasons that lead you to take this step now, and so bring an end to the very distinguished service that you have given to the Northern Ireland Assembly. That the Assembly was established so soundly, and that it operated with so great a measure of co-operation among all the parties, even when emotions ran high, owes, I believe, an enormous amount to your leadership. The calm authority with which you managed the most difficult debates was very widely admired, not only by those present, but many others who watched the proceedings from outside.

"You have left a legacy of great value to the Assembly, and, like you, I hope that it can once again be drawn on as the Assembly resumes its functions, in the context of stable devolved government in a Northern Ireland entirely free from paramilitary activity.

"You will in your new role, of course, have a contribution of great importance to make to securing that objective. I am very grateful for the skill and commitment that you and your colleagues are already bringing to the establishment of the Commission."

Lord Alderdice, the former leader of the Alliance Party will join the four-strong Independent Monitoring Commission that is charged with reporting on the status of paramilitary activities and ceasefires.

The IMC's first reporting date was brought forward following the alleged abduction of a dissident republican activist Bobby Tohill in Belfast at the weekend. Four men were subsequently charged in connection with the incident.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 February 2006
Lord Alderdice resigns from Alliance Party
The former speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and leader of the Alliance Party Lord Alderdice has resigned from the party. Lord Alderdice said the decision was to prevent any conflict of interest with his role on the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).
14 January 2020
UUP: Flybe 'Crucial' To NI Activity
Flybe is crucially important to the connectivity of Northern Ireland, Ulster Unionist Leader Steve Aiken has warned. The UK Government is under pressure to save the commercial airline amid fears of the company's collapse due to rising losses. Flybe operates 14 routes from Belfast City Airport, more than is offered by any other airline.
14 January 2020
'Breakthrough' £30m Pay Offer For Health Unions
A 'breakthrough' offer for salary parity has been tabled to health unions in Northern Ireland, the Health Minister has confirmed. Robin Swann said the offer comes after some very difficult days for local health services as he set out the terms to the newly formed Assembly.
18 September 2003
Ceasefire monitor gets Commons approval
A new monitoring body for paramilitary ceasefires will be set up after legislation aimed at reviving the Northern Ireland peace process was rushed through the House of Commons last night. The Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission) Bill was taken through all its stages in the Commons in one sitting after being pushed through the Lords in two days.
28 January 2002
NIUP member expelled for remarks over murder allegation
A Northern Ireland assembly member has been expelled from the chamber after he made inflammatory remarks in the chamber about another assembly member.