Minister of Home Affairs (Northern Ireland)

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Northern Ireland 1921–72

The Minister of Home Affairs was a member of the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland (Cabinet) in the Parliament of Northern Ireland which governed Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1972. The Minister of Home Affairs was responsible for a range of non-economic domestic matters, although for a few months in 1953 the office was combined with that of the Minister of Finance.

Under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922, the Minister was enabled to make any regulation necessary to preserve or re-establish law and order in Northern Ireland. The act specifically entitled him to ban parades, meetings, and publications, and to forbid inquests.

One of the position's more problematic duties was responsibility for parades in Northern Ireland under the Special Powers Act and from 1951 the Public Order Act. Parading was (and is) extremely contentious in Northern Ireland, and so the Minister was bound to anger one community or other regardless of what decision he made. Ministers generally allowed parades by the Orange Order and other Protestant groups to go where they wanted, while restricting nationalist parades to Catholic areas and banning republican or anti-partitionist parades. Communist and other far-left parades were also sometimes banned. From time to time Ministers, for example Brian Maginess, attempted to administer the parading issue more fairly, but usually suffered career damage as a result. The parading issue may be the reason why the Home Affairs portfolio changed hands more often than most other Ministerial positions.

In 1970 the office was combined with that of Prime Minister of Northern Ireland with John Taylor serving as a cabinet rank junior minister, and then abolished along with the rest of the Northern Irish government in 1973.

# Name Took Office Prime Minister Party
1. Dawson Bates 7 June 1921 Craig, Andrews UUP
2. William Lowry 6 May 1943 Brookeborough UUP
3. Edmond Warnock 3 November 1944 Brookeborough UUP
4. Brian Maginess 21 June 1946 Brookeborough UUP
5. Edmond Warnock 11 September 1946 Brookeborough UUP
6. Brian Maginess 4 November 1949 Brookeborough UUP
7. George Hanna 26 October 1953 Brookeborough UUP
8. Terence O'Neill 20 April 1956 Brookeborough UUP
9. W. W. B. Topping 23 October 1956 Brookeborough UUP
10. Brian Faulkner 15 December 1959 Brookeborough UUP
11. William Craig 29 April 1963 O'Neill UUP
12. Brian McConnell 22 July 1964 O'Neill UUP
13. William Craig 7 October 1966 O'Neill UUP
14. William Long 11 December 1968 O'Neill UUP
15. Robert Porter 12 March 1969 O'Neill, Chichester-Clark UUP
16. James Chichester-Clark 26 August 1970 Chichester-Clark UUP
17. Brian Faulkner 23 March 1971 Faulkner UUP

Ministers of State

Senior Parliamentary Secretaries

Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs


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