NI assembly election issues guide: Overview

Mark Devenport explains the issues

The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont can make policies for all matters transferred to it from Westminster, which includes everything except defence, foreign policy, and raising taxes.

Positions in the cabinet, known as the Northern Ireland Executive, are allocated by party based on how many seats they have won; Stormont departments operate within the financial allocation granted by Westminster.

Outlined here are some of the key priorities by the largest seven parties contesting the election on 5 May. Read more from BBC Northern Ireland Political Editor Mark Devenport.

Election issues 2011



Sinn Fein






  • Create more jobs
  • Fix education; better health service
  • Low rates; tougher prison sentences
  • Reform Stormont; work together
  • Strengthen unionism
  • Unite Ireland
  • Implement an all-Ireland economic recovery plan
  • Devolve more powers from Westminster, including fiscal powers
  • Promote equality across the island of Ireland
  • Ensure proper funding for social services and health; provision based on need, not ability to pay
  • Maximise opportunity of turning Northern Ireland into an enterprise zone; long-term strategy to rebalance the economy and boost the private sector
  • Find long-term resolution of the post primary transfer process
  • Reform the government structures; significantly reduce the number of MLAs, executive departments, local councils and unelected bodies
  • Build prosperity through job creation and protection of the most vulnerable
  • Invest more in health, education and the environment to boost the economy and develop society
  • End religious segregation to save money and create a shared future
  • Rebalance the economy; government must provide an environment that grows the private sector in a sustainable way
  • Modernise public services, reducing waste and bureaucracy
  • Use environmental and cultural resources to attract investment; address energy needs through renewable energy
  • Insulate 500,000 homes to boost employment, reduce average heating bills and reduce carbon emissions
  • Introduce feed-in tariff to encourage the use of renewable energy
  • Prioritise public transport; suspend new road building schemes to free up money to be invested in other areas
  • Make the Stormont Executive a voluntary coalition so the executive can be held to account by the opposition
  • Get Northern Ireland back to work by focusing on employment
  • Improve the health service and put patients needs first
  • Oppose Sinn Fein at every level within government

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