Northern Ireland

Committee chairs appointed to scrutinise Stormont departments

Parties selected chairs and deputies on Tuesday

SDLP’s Mathew O’Toole and Daniel McCrossan, as Northern Ireland's devolved government is restored, Two years to the day since it collapsed. PICTURE:  COLM LENAGHAN
SDLP’s Mathew O’Toole (right) is the new chair of Stormont's finance committee, while party colleage Daniel McCrossan has been selected to chair the Committee for Public Accounts. PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

Stormont’s parties have selected committee chairs to scrutinise executive departments and the decisions of ministers, with SDLP opposition leader Mathew O’Toole named as chair of the Finance Committee.

Mr O’Toole, an MLA for South Belfast, will chair the committee with the DUP’s Diane Forsythe as deputy.

The SDLP has also secured the chair of an important standing body, the Public Accounts Committee, to be led by South Down MLA Daniel McCrossan, with deputy Cheryl Brownlee of the DUP.

With Sinn Féin being the largest party in the assembly, it had first choice for committee picks, and Carál Ní Chuilín was elected to serve as Principal Deputy Speaker.

A new committee to scrutinise the Windsor Framework deal between the UK and EU on post-Brexit trading arrangements will be chaired by South Antrim Sinn Féin rep Declan Kearney, with East Belfast DUP MLA David Brooks as deputy chair.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sinn Féin's Declan Kearney. PICTURE: NIALL CARSON/PA

Sinn Féin’s Liz Kimmins is chair of the Health Committee, with Alliance’s Nuala McAllister as deputy.

The Justice Committee will be chaired by the DUP’s Joanne Bunting, with Sinn Féin’s Dierdre Hargey as deputy, while the UUP’s Tom Elliott will chair the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee alongside deputy chair Declan McAleer of Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin’s Colm Gildernew is the new chair of the Communities Committee, with deputy chair and party colleague Ciara Ferguson, while at the Economy Committee, the DUP’s Philip Brett will chair alongside fellow DUP MLA Gary Middleton as deputy.

The Committee for Education chair is Alliance’s Nick Mathison, with Sinn Féin’s Pat Sheehan as deputy, and at the Committee for Infrastructure, the DUP’s Deborah Erskine is chair, with the UUP’s John Stewart as deputy chair.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw will chair the Committee for the Executive Office, with deputy and party colleague Connie Egan.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw, said the party had confirmed its position as the third largest in Northern Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)
Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw, PICTURE: BRAIN LAWLESS/PA

Other standing committees at Stormont are the Assembly and Executive Review Committee, chaired by the DUP’s Jonathan Buckley with deputy chair Pádraig Delargy of Sinn Féin.

The Audit Committee chair is the UUP’s Alan Chambers, with deputy Keith Buchanan of the DUP, and the Committee for Standards and Privileges chair is Sinn Féin’s Philip McGuigan with Alliance MLA Danny Donnelly as deputy.

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong is the new chair of the Committee on Procedures, with deputy Sinn Féin’s Sinéad Ennis.