Public Affairs

All-party groups re-established after election

In the absence of a return to a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly post-election, some all-party groups (APGs) have been re-established. agendaNi outlines those who continue to meet.

In the aftermath of the May 2022 Assembly elections, it is uncertain when or even if a new Executive will be formed. APGs provide a forum by which MLAs and outside organisations and individuals can meet to discuss shared interests in a particular cause or subject.

Membership is limited to MLAs although it is recognised that outside groups are often welcome to attend meetings, as well as to inform and support the groups work.

Notably, however, APGs are not formal assembly groups and do not possess any powers, such as the ability to call witnesses or summon documentation, or formally develop policy.

A register of APGs is compiled and maintained by the Clerk of Standards and is regulated by the Committee on Standards and Privileges.

Membership of APGs is open at any time to all MLAs but a group must at all times include at least 10 MLAs and all three designations at the Assembly must be represented in the membership.

In a new mandate, groups are allowed to continue provided they submit the relevant paperwork within two months of their first meeting. Should they not do so, the group ceases to exist.

According to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s recent records, 40 all-party groups have met since the Assembly election. These groups are: ADHD; Ageing and Older People; Animal Welfare; Arts; Autism; Cancer; Carers; Climate Action; Community Pharmacy; Construction; Country Sports; Cycling; Diabetes; Disability; Domestic and Sexual Violence; Early Education and Childcare; Ethnic Minority Community; Fairtrade; Further and Higher Education; Homelessness; Housing; Learning Disability; Lung Health; Mental Health; Micro and Small Business; Modern Slavery; MS and Neurology; Parental Participation in Education; Press Freedom and Media Sustainability; Preventing Loneliness; Rare Disease; Reducing Harm Related to Gambling; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Social Enterprise; Sport and Physical Recreation; Suicide Prevention; Terminal Illness; UNSCR 1325, Women, Peace and Security; Visual Impairment; and Women’s Health.

The all-party groups on: Addiction and Dual Diagnosis; Children and Young People; Football; Funerals and Bereavement; and Muscular Dystrophy have not met since the new mandate and will presumably be inactive for the duration of this Assembly.

The two month period to renew all-party groups does not apply to proposed new groups, with one proposal to set up a new APG on Universal Basic Income having been made, which had its first meeting on 6 September, after the summer recess. There will also be a new APG on LGBTQIA+ Equality, which will be chaired by newly-elected Alliance MLA Eóin Tennyson.


Last meeting: 13/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 1
Chair: Pam Cameron MLA, DUP
Vice-chair: Cathal Boylan MLA, Sinn Féin


Last meeting: 29/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 2
Chair: Colm Gildernew MLA, Sinn Féin
Vice-chair: Deborah Erskine MLA, DUP


Last meeting: 27/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 1
Chair: Patsy McGlone MLA, SDLP
Vice-chair: Paul Frew MLA, DUP

Ethnic Minority Community

Last meeting: 29/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 1
Chair: Kate Nicholl MLA, Alliance Party
Vice-chair: Steve Aiken MLA, Ulster Unionist Party


Last meeting: 01/07/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 1
Chair: Ciara Ferguson MLA, Sinn Féin
Vice-chair: Kellie Armstrong MLA, Alliance Party

Press Freedom and Media Sustainability

Last meeting: 30/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 1
Chair: Matthew O’Toole MLA, SDLP
Vice-chair: Mike Nesbitt MLA, Ulster Unionist Party

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Last meeting: 20/06/2022
Number of 2022 meetings: 2
Chair: Steve Aiken MLA, Ulster Unionist Party
Vice-chair: Caoimhe Archibald, Sinn Féin

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