Northern Ireland Office

We ensure the smooth working of the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Baroness Suttie (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Labour
Peter Kyle (LAB - Hove)
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Liberal Democrat
Alistair Carmichael (LDEM - Orkney and Shetland)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Labour
Baroness Smith of Basildon (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Scottish National Party
Richard Thomson (SNP - Gordon)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Tonia Antoniazzi (LAB - Gower)
Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)
Ministers of State
Conor Burns (CON - Bournemouth West)
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Lord Caine (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 18th May 2022
09:00
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
18 May 2022, 9 a.m.
The effect of paramilitaries on society in Northern Ireland
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 25th May 2022
09:00
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
25 May 2022, 9 a.m.

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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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Debates
Monday 16th May 2022
Select Committee Docs
Friday 13th May 2022
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 30th March 2022
The effect of paramilitaries on society in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into the effect of paramilitaries on society in Northern Ireland. …

Written Answers
Monday 16th May 2022
Northern Ireland Government
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to enable any group of parties in the Northern …
Secondary Legislation
Wednesday 15th December 2021
Representation of the People (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 8(1), and paragraph 21 of Schedule 7 to …
Bills
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Act 2022
A Bill to make provision about Ministerial appointments, extraordinary Assembly elections, the Ministerial Code of Conduct and petitions of concern …
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 17th May 2022
08:38
Treaty
None available

Northern Ireland Office Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Apr. 27
Oral Questions
Mar. 10
Urgent Questions
Nov. 11
Westminster Hall
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Bills currently before Parliament

Northern Ireland Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Introduced: 12th May 2021

A Bill to make provision about Ministerial appointments, extraordinary Assembly elections, the Ministerial Code of Conduct and petitions of concern in Northern Ireland.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Tuesday 8th February 2022 and was enacted into law.

Northern Ireland Office - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 8(1), and paragraph 21 of Schedule 7 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies (in particular under section 8(2)(d)(ii) of that Act) arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
The Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 (S.R. 2000/347) (“the Flags Regulations”) make provision as to the flying of flags at government buildings in Northern Ireland, in particular by specifying the buildings on which flags must be flown on certain days. Section 67(2) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c. 26) provides for the Flags Regulations to apply to court houses as they apply to the government buildings specified in Part 1 of the Schedule.
View All Northern Ireland Office Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
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Petitions with most signatures
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Northern Ireland Office has not participated in any petition debates
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Departmental Select Committee

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
Simon Hoare Portrait
Simon Hoare (Conservative - North Dorset)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Bob Stewart Portrait
Bob Stewart (Conservative - Beckenham)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Paisley Portrait
Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party - North Antrim)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Claire Hanna Portrait
Claire Hanna (Social Democratic & Labour Party - Belfast South)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robert Goodwill Portrait
Robert Goodwill (Conservative - Scarborough and Whitby)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Stephen Farry Portrait
Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Gregory Campbell Portrait
Gregory Campbell (Democratic Unionist Party - East Londonderry)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Scott Benton Portrait
Scott Benton (Conservative - Blackpool South)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Mary Kelly Foy Portrait
Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 8th June 2020
Stephanie Peacock Portrait
Stephanie Peacock (Labour - Barnsley East)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 6th July 2020
Fay Jones Portrait
Fay Jones (Conservative - Brecon and Radnorshire)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 11th January 2021
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
The effect of paramilitaries on society in Northern Ireland
18 May 2022, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Dr Colm Walsh - Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast
Dr Siobhán McAlister - Senior Lecturer in Criminology, School of Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast
Prof Duncan Morrow - Professor in Politics and Director of Community Engagement at Ulster University

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Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
25 May 2022, 9 a.m.
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50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

12th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to enable any group of parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly to form a devolved administration.

The restoration of fully functioning devolved institutions in Northern Ireland remains our top priority. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland remains in close contact with the largest parties in Northern Ireland to encourage them to elect an Assembly Speaker and form a new Executive.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many months have elapsed since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement came into force; and during how many of those months there has not been an operational power sharing executive.

Approximately 269 months have elapsed since the Northern Ireland Executive met for the first time on 2 December 1999 after the signing of the 10 April 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. During that period, there have been approximately 94 months without a fully functioning Executive.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much the Department spent on communications staff in (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21 and (c) 2021-22.

Departmental spend on communications staff was £358,430 in 2019-20, £331,262 in 2020-21 and £564,014 in 2021-22.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to support exporters in Northern Ireland.

The Government is committed to supporting Northern Ireland exporters, who I regularly visit.

Through the New Deal, we have invested £8 million to expand Invest NI’s presence overseas.

I am pleased that exporters, including some who I have visited such as Armagh Cider Company, Mash Direct, and Kiverco, are reaching out to access the specialist support offered by the DIT hub in Northern Ireland, which also includes access to the Export Academy, to help businesses trade globally.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The Government continues to implement the New Decade New Approach agreement and is united around the ambition for a strong functioning Executive delivering a more prosperous, shared future for Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland are going to the polls on 5 May. It is vital that we give people the space to make that choice in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect, to ensure that fully functioning devolved institutions are restored at the earliest possible moment.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
27th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen Northern Ireland’s place in the Union.

I can assure my hon. Friend that this Government is taking every opportunity to strengthen Northern Ireland’s place in this United Kingdom.

The Government’s record investment in Northern Ireland proves that we are immeasurably stronger together, including the £15bn Spending Review settlement for the Executive, the largest settlement since devolution in 1998; our ambitious levelling up agenda; and our work to build a safer, more prosperous and integrated future that will benefit the whole community.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to contribute to efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

My Department is committed to making our estate and operations more sustainable and resilient, and supports, where possible, the delivery of this Government’s Greening Government Commitments. We are a small department, with a low carbon footprint arising from our accommodation and corporate travel requirements, and we choose to act sustainably when conducting every part of our business. As an example, we are taking steps to reduce our carbon emissions by utilising technology to enable virtual meetings rather than staff flying short haul between London and Belfast to attend all meetings face to face.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of progress on restoring the Northern Ireland Executive.

The people of Northern Ireland are going to the polls on 5 May. It is vital that we give people the space to make that choice in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect, to ensure that fully functioning devolved institutions are restored at the earliest possible moment.

We encourage the parties to form an Executive as soon as possible. The people of Northern Ireland need strong local political leadership and a stable, accountable executive that works with the Government to deliver on the issues that matter most.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many communications staff are employed by his Department (a) full time, (b) part time and (c) on flexible working arrangements as of 19 April 2022.

The number of staff working to deliver the communications function in the Northern Ireland Office is 13. All are employed on a full-time basis; there are no part-time communications staff. There are communications staff on flexible working arrangements but there are fewer than 5 on this arrangement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether he has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on rescheduling the (a) Ulster Grand Prix and (b) Northwest 200 following cancellation as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Responsibility for sport policy is devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, with proposals for financial support a matter for the Executive and Tourism NI.

We recognise the importance of events such as these for the Northern Ireland economy, and as part of Northern Ireland’s outstanding tourism offer. Our focus will be on encouraging the parties to form an Executive following the NI Assembly elections so that important decisions, such as proposals for financial support for sporting events, can be made by the Executive on behalf of the people in Northern Ireland.

In the case of the Northwest 200 road races, the organisers have confirmed that the 2022 event will take place on May 8-14 and we wish those taking part and the organisers every success.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent estimate he has made of the number of companies in Great Britain that no longer service the Northern Ireland market following agreement of the Northern Ireland Protocol in October 2019.

The Northern Ireland Protocol as it is currently being implemented is causing real problems for Northern Ireland. An example of this is the decision by at least 200 suppliers in Great Britain to cease delivery to Northern Ireland because of the costs and bureaucracy caused by the Protocol leading to reduced choice on the shelves in Northern Ireland.

The Government has been consistently clear that significant changes are needed if the Protocol is to endure and provide the certainty businesses need and protect the stability of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions the Government has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the establishment of a freeport in Northern Ireland.

We have been engaged with the Northern Ireland Executive on plans for Freeports in Northern Ireland and will continue to work with them to bring the benefits of Freeports to Northern Ireland.

Freeports will bring together ports, local authorities, businesses and other key local stakeholders to achieve a common goal of shared prosperity and opportunity for the areas they serve. We remain committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland, alongside other parts of the United Kingdom, benefits from Freeports.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions were recorded in Northern Ireland in the last 12-month period; how many women resident in Northern Ireland were recorded as obtaining abortions in Great Britain in the same period; and in which hospitals in Northern Ireland surgical abortions have been performed.

Limited Early Medical Abortion (EMA) services are currently provided in Northern Ireland, but these fall short of the services that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland instructed the Northern Ireland Department of Health (DoH) to provide by March 2022. We are disappointed that the Executive has failed to provide services. As set out in his recent Written Ministerial Statement, the Secretary of State is committed, if necessary, to make regulations and directions to ensure abortion healthcare is delivered in Northern Ireland.

Information on the location of surgical abortions performed in Northern Ireland is held by the DoH. The latest publicly available data shows that between 1 April 2020 and 31 January 2022, a total of 2,794 notifications of termination were submitted to the Chief Medical Officer in Northern Ireland.

The most recent data published on women resident in Northern Ireland travelling to Great Britain for an abortion procedure is from 2020, where the number of women and girls travelling to England for abortion services was 371.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of progress on the commitments in the New Decade, New Approach agreement on the York Street Interchange scheme.

The New Decade, New Approach deal helped to restore a fully functioning Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive in January 2020. A key priority for the Executive was to begin the urgent task of strengthening public services and delivering essential infrastructure projects, including the York Street Interchange. In 2020, an assurance review into the scheme was commissioned. Following the reporting of the review in 2021, the Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister asked for further work to be undertaken on the project proposals to maximise ambition on what can be delivered for connectivity and communities.

Delivering essential infrastructure projects including York Street Interchange is, of course, primarily a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive. The Government will encourage all parties to form an Executive as soon as possible following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May.

The Government’s priority is for a strong, functioning Executive delivering a better, more prosperous, shared future for the people of Northern Ireland. To support this priority, the Government has provided the NI Executive with £15 billion per year over the next three years. This is the largest funding settlement for Northern Ireland since devolution and highlights once again the strength and security that Northern Ireland gains from being an integral part of the world’s fifth largest economy.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last met the Irish Foreign Minister to discuss visa requirements for EU citizens entering Northern Ireland from Ireland.

The Government will continue its strong cooperation with the Irish Government on a range of immigration issues, reflecting its commitment to both the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. These matters were most recently discussed at the British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference in Dublin on 23 March.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last met political parties in Northern Ireland to discuss the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland regularly meets Northern Ireland political representatives to discuss Northern Ireland-related matters, including the Northern Ireland Protocol.


Until the recent resignation of the First Minister, the Secretary of State also regularly attended meetings of the cross-Government Protocol Contact Group along with the Minister for Europe and the First and deputy First Minister and he looks forward to their resumption after the Northern Ireland Assembly Election on 5 May.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last visited Dublin for meetings with Irish ministers.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last visited Dublin for meetings with Irish Ministers on Wednesday 23 March where he attended the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference alongside Minister of State, Conor Burns.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many visits the Special Envoy to the United States on Northern Ireland has undertaken to the United States since his appointment; and on what dates those visits took place.

The US Special Envoy on Northern Ireland has visited the US three times since his appointment: between 17 and 23 October 2021, between 13 and 22 December 2021 and between 16 and 18 March 2022.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether the Government plans to provide financial support to Tourism Ireland.

Tourism is a devolved responsibility in Northern Ireland, and funding for tourism is a matter for Northern Ireland Executive ministers. Tourism Ireland is funded by both the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, and the Executive has substantial resources available to it to deliver public services. The Government announced in the 2021 Spending Review that it is providing the Executive with £15 billion per year over the next three years, the largest funding settlement for Northern Ireland since devolution.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what events his Department is organising to mark the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Belfast Agreement on 10 April 1998.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will mark the 24th anniversary with a message to people in Northern Ireland via social media which reflects on the significant progress that has been made since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was signed and the transformative role it has played in making Northern Ireland a great place to live, work and do business.

Preparations are also underway to mark the historic milestone of the 25th anniversary in 2023 appropriately and give it the recognition it deserves. Further details will be announced in due course.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with political parties in Northern Ireland on measures to deal with the past and its legacy in Northern Ireland.

Since the Government published the Command Paper, ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past’, in July 2021, we have engaged with interested parties, groups and individuals across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Ireland on our proposals. This includes the Northern Ireland parties, representatives from the victims sector, veterans, individuals and organisations from across civil society and the Irish Government.

We have heard many different views through this engagement, including how the proposals might be changed, amended or improved. This has been extremely valuable, and the perspectives we have heard will help inform our next steps, which we are considering carefully.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of ongoing negotiations with the EU on peace in Northern Ireland.

Political differences in Northern Ireland, as throughout the whole United Kingdom, should be resolved peacefully and not used as an excuse for violence. The Government is clear that the Protocol's fundamental purpose is to uphold the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions - yet it is clear that it is undermining them all. Maintaining peace and stability in Northern Ireland, and protecting the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement will always be our top priority. We continue to focus on finding solutions to these issues and our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU. The need for solutions is urgent.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to help ensure Northern Ireland's place in the Union.

This Government is steadfastly committed to Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom, and will never be neutral on the Union. We will continue to strengthen the Union by making Northern Ireland a better place to live and work for all parts of the community, and by building a stronger, more shared and inclusive society.

The Government firmly believes that the Union is strongest when all its people can see and feel its benefits in their everyday lives, and that is why we will continue to work tirelessly to deliver for Northern Ireland just as we are seeking to level up every part of this United Kingdom.

This is demonstrated through our commitment to invest over £3.5 billion across Northern Ireland via the New Deal for NI, City Deals, PEACE Plus and the financial package laid out in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, and our support for skills, communities and local infrastructure.

The Government also continues to work with partners to ensure Northern Ireland’s future is safe and secure, that there is equality of opportunity for all its people and to ensure an open and tolerant society for the benefit of everyone.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent progress has been made on the establishment of a connected classroom programme for young people in Northern Ireland.

We are firmly committed to establishing a Connected Classrooms programme, to provide young people in Northern Ireland with the opportunity to connect, engage and collaborate with their peers across the United Kingdom. We are currently exploring options for the delivery of this programme.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the next steps of the Castlereagh Foundation in response to the written advice of the Advisory Committee.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is continuing to consider all the advice that he has received to date regarding the Castlereagh Foundation.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Caine on 16 March (HL6665), how many (1) Ministers, (2) Officials, and (3) Special Advisors, attended the St Patrick's Day celebrations this year in the USA; how many days did all attendees stay; and what was the total cost of the visit.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland attended St. Patrick’s Day events in the USA this year, along with a number of other engagements with senior members of the Administration and Congress between 15-18 March. He travelled with one official and one Special Advisor. It is not yet possible to give a final cost of the visit.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what estimate his Department has made of the number of households that on heating oil for central heating in Northern Ireland.

According to the Consumer Council, 68 per cent of homes in Northern Ireland use heating oil as their primary source of heating. Policy on domestic energy is devolved in Northern Ireland.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
17th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are paying or contributing to the legal costs of the applicants in the McKerr group of cases, including that relating to the murder of Patrick Finucane, which are currently before the Committee of Ministers at the Council of Europe after judgments by the European Court of Human Rights; and, if so, how much they have contributed to date.

The following cases remain before the Committee of Ministers, who supervise the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights:

McKerr v United Kingdom (Application 28883/95), judgement final on 4 August 2001;

Kelly and others v United Kingdom (Application 30054/96), judgement final on 4 August 2001;

Shanaghan v United Kingdom (Application 37715/97), judgement final on 4 August 2001;

Finucane v United Kingdom (Application 29178/95), judgement final on 1 October 2003;

McCaughey and others v United Kingdom (Application 43098/09), judgement final on 16 October 2013.

In each case, a costs order would have been made following the final hearing and no contributions or payments towards costs have been made after this. We do not pay or contribute to costs of any submissions or otherwise of cases which are before the Committee of Ministers.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
17th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many legacy civil suits that (1) they are subject to, and (2) relate to the Troubles, are currently before the courts in Northern Ireland; how many were settled in 2021; what amounts were paid to applicants that year; and what was the cost in legal aid.

There are over 1,000 legacy civil claims against state agencies, including those at the pre-action stage, all of which relate to the Troubles.

The Northern Ireland Office was a co-defendant in two legacy civil claims in 2021 that were settled. The amounts paid will remain confidential as per the terms of the settlements.

The Northern Ireland Office does not hold information on the settlement of legacy civil claims faced by other Government Departments.

Legal aid applications are considered by the Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland and payments are administered by the Department of Justice. As such, we are unable to comment on the costs relating to legal aid.



Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the impact of increased homeworking during the covid-19 outbreak on his Department’s carbon footprint.

As a Department, we are committed to making our estate and operations more sustainable, and support, where possible, the delivery of the Greening Government Commitments. I can confirm that my Department has not made a separate assessment of the impact of increased homeworking during the covid-19 outbreak on its carbon footprint.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to measure its carbon footprint.

As a Department, we are committed to making our estate and operations more sustainable, and support, where possible, the delivery of the Greening Government Commitments. I can confirm that we do not independently measure our carbon footprint, but rely upon the provision of data, based on floor area and/or headcount, from our government landlords and corporate travel providers.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether his Department has published a plan setting out the steps it plans to take to transition to net zero emissions.

The Government published its Net Zero Strategy in October 2021, which sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our Net Zero target by 2050. As a small department, with a low carbon footprint and a tenant in two government hub buildings, my department has not produced a separate plan, although we act sustainably when conducting our business.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether a senior official in his Department has responsibility for departmental sustainability.

As a Department, we are committed to making our estate and operations more sustainable, and support, where possible, the delivery of the Greening Government Commitments. I can confirm that we have a Director who is responsible for overseeing the Department's corporate functions, including sustainability issues.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the legislative changes required to ban cargo of Russian origin from being unloaded in Northern Irish ports.

We are working very closely with the Northern Ireland Executive on the impacts on Northern Ireland as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes understanding any reliance on Russian fuel within Northern Ireland and exploring alternative sources of supply.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering in-country applications in Northern Ireland for the Homes for Ukraine scheme to Ukrainian nationals entering Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland.

The situation in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis and the Government is taking steps to support Ukrainians seeking safe passage and sanctuary in the UK, including through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Those arriving under this scheme will be granted three years leave to remain, and the Government is using a variety of channels and working with stakeholders to communicate the steps that Ukrainians wishing to participate in the scheme would need to take.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans he has to make a direction on commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland prior to the dissolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 24 March 2022.

The delay in the implementation of abortion services in Northern Ireland is entirely unacceptable. Parliament has decided that women should have access to these services and this decision must be respected.

I am therefore considering all options available to the Government in order to resolve this situation and ensure the women and girls in Northern Ireland can access basic healthcare services, as is their right.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether refugees from Ukraine who have been given the right to remain in the Republic of Ireland are entitled to cross the border into Northern Ireland.

The situation in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis and the Government is taking concrete steps to provide sanctuary to those affected through the Ukraine Family Scheme. A new sponsorship route, which will allow Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK to be sponsored to come here, also launched this month.

Ukrainians in Ireland wishing to come to the UK should apply to do so before seeking to travel to the UK including travelling across the land border into Northern Ireland. The Government is using a variety of communications channels and working with a range of stakeholders to support Ukrainian nationals seeking safe passage to the United Kingdom, regardless of whether they are travelling across the CTA or from elsewhere in the world.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether his Department has implemented a training programme to provide civil servants with skills to support its transition to net zero.

Whilst the Department has not implemented a specific training programme to provide staff with skills to support its transition to net zero, the new Government Curriculum will include modules on the implications of Net Zero, climate change and wider environmental issues for the government.

In the first phase, the Government Skills & Curriculum Unit (GSCU) is working with other Departments (including BEIS, DEFRA and FCDO) to create an awareness level training resource for all civil servants. This will be piloted from April 2022. In the next phases, GSCU will look at tailored provision for specific Functions and Professions, and will signpost the training and other resources on Net Zero, which are already being provided internally at practitioner and expert levels by government Departments.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has travelled to Northern Ireland in each of the last 12 months; and how many of these visits included an overnight stay.

Between February 2021 and February 2022, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland made the following visits to Northern Ireland:

February 2021: 3 trips

March 2021: 5 trips

April 2021: 5 trips

May 2021: 4 trips

June 2021: 4 trips

July 2021: 2 trips

August 2021: 1 trip

September 2021: 2 trips

October 2021: 2 trips

November 2021: 2 trips

December 2021: 2 trips

January 2022: 4 trips

February 2022: 2 trips

These include 22 overnight trips.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any (1) Ministers, (2) civil servants, or (3) special advisers, will be attending St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States of America in March in an official capacity; and if so, what is the cost of any such attendance.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's visit has not yet concluded and it is not, therefore, possible to provide the information requested.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement in 2023.

Preparations are underway to mark this historic milestone appropriately and give it the recognition it deserves. Further details will be announced in due course.

This Government remains totally committed to the 1998 Agreement which has underpinned so much of the progress that we have seen in Northern Ireland for almost a quarter of a century.

Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the impact of the spend local voucher scheme on footfall on high streets in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The Spend Local Voucher Scheme was designed and introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive and was made possible through the £5 billion additional Covid funding that the Government provided to the Executive since the start of the pandemic.

Assessment of the take up and impact of the Spend Local Voucher Scheme is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, however, I look forward to discussing the matter with the Executive in due course as part of our regular engagement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the level of take up of the spend local voucher scheme in Northern Ireland in each month since that scheme has been active; and if he will make a statement.

The Spend Local Voucher Scheme was designed and introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive and was made possible through the £5 billion additional Covid funding that the Government provided to the Executive since the start of the pandemic.

Assessment of the take up and impact of the Spend Local Voucher Scheme is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, however, I look forward to discussing the matter with the Executive in due course as part of our regular engagement.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the progress of the Places for Growth programme.

The creation of additional Government roles in Northern Ireland remains a key priority for the Government and the Northern Ireland Office.

Bringing new roles to Northern Ireland will deliver on our commitment to level up right across the UK and increase prosperity in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I continue to work closely with the Minister for Levelling up and other Cabinet colleagues to drive this important work forward.

I am also pleased to advise that my Department has recently relocated to the Government Hub at Erskine House in Belfast City centre.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much his Department spent on social media advertising in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021 and (d) 2022 up to and including 28 February; and on which platforms that money was spent.

The Northern Ireland Office regularly publishes a breakdown of departmental spending as part of our transparency publishing commitments. These publications cover invoices with a value of £25k or more. This includes spend on campaign advertising, covering social media advertising.

Please see the NIO Transparency Data November 2020 for an item on campaign advertising spend.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what further steps they are taking to strengthen the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This Government is steadfastly committed to Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom, on the basis of consent, and will never be neutral on the Union.

We aim to strengthen the Union by making Northern Ireland a better place to live and work for all parts of the community, and by building a stronger, more shared and inclusive society.

Through our ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, a record financial settlement for Northern Ireland in the spending review, with an average of £15 billion funding per year and the support provided throughout the pandemic sustaining more than 370,000 jobs, we are demonstrating that all of our United Kingdom remains better together than it would ever be apart.

There can be no doubt that Northern Ireland benefits from the strength and security of being part of the world's fifth largest economy, and the Government will continue to deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom so that we may further strengthen our precious Union.


Lord Caine
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the resignation of the Northern Ireland First Minister.

I speak regularly to Cabinet colleagues on the implications of the Northern Ireland First Minister’s resignation. The Government is united around the ambition to deliver a strong, functioning Executive delivering a better, more prosperous, shared future for all the people of Northern Ireland.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
9th Mar 2022
What recent discussions he has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) Cabinet colleagues on the effect of Operation Rescript on healthcare facilities in Northern Ireland.

As part of Operation Rescript, the Government responded to requests for the military to provide medical assistance to all parts of the UK during the pandemic. Throughout this process, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was in regular contact with the Northern Ireland Health Minister and his Cabinet colleagues. This assistance has been recognised by the Minister and healthcare staff as vital in order to continue treating patients in Northern Ireland.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
9th Mar 2022
What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of resources for women's services in Northern Ireland.

It is the Northern Ireland Executive that has failed to deliver adequate funding for women’s services. The Government supports any work undertaken in Northern Ireland to empower women and tackle issues which disproportionately affect women. Women and girls in Northern Ireland must have the same access to healthcare as those in the rest of the UK, and I am considering all options available to the Government to achieve this.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland