Currently, the Northern Ireland Executive is vacant while the Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended, following the resignation of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and subsequently First Minister Arlene Foster (due to NI's power-sharing agreement).

Since both the executive and the legislative branches of Northern Ireland's devolved government are not functioning and the United Kingdom has been unwilling to implement direct rule, how is Northern Ireland being governed now? Who are making the decisions that should normally be made by ministers in the executive?

  • At a guess: It isn't. No one.
    – Caleth
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Legislation is made at Westminster to provide for budgets: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/new-government-legislation-on-northern-ireland-direct-rule-in-all-but-name-36750476.html

Operationally the civil service still report to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who at the time of writing is Karen Bradley.

Other than that, it remains in stasis; the security services, tax office, benefits etc machinery of the state continue to operate, but no significant change will be carried out.

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