The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

The publication of polling data about changing levels of party support in Northern Ireland has led to speculation about which parties might be in a position to nominate one of their MLAs to be First or deputy First Minister after future elections. In particular, there has been conjecture that an enlarged Alliance Party team could potentially nominate the deputy First Minister if their results surpassed those of the DUP or Sinn Féin.

Fact checkers don’t predict future events. This article explores the process currently in place that decides who leads Northern Ireland’s devolved government so you can understand how the process would be followed after the next election. Continue reading The process of nominating the First and deputy First Ministers

COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media. Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The electoral register and the 10-year canvass

What is the electoral register?

The Electoral Commission describes the electoral register as “a record of the names and addresses of people eligible to vote in elections and referendums”.

The register provides the list of those who are eligible to vote. People not included on the register cannot take part in elections and referendums. The register is also used for other public purposes, such as conducting boundary reviews and selecting people to undertake jury service, as well as for consumer credit rating calculations and marketing. Continue reading The electoral register and the 10-year canvass

Children living in poverty in Northern Ireland

How many children in Northern Ireland live in poverty? Dr Julie-Ann Maney, a paediatrician who works at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, wrote an article on this topic, claiming that one third of children in Northern Ireland live in poverty. Her claim was based on projections in a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, published in 2013. Continue reading Children living in poverty in Northern Ireland

Seasonal flu and COVID

In the afternoon briefing on Wednesday, 10 February 2021, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, commented that the COVID-19 restrictions have “most certainly also had an impact on other viruses that we normally see at this time of year” (7:17 from start).

Dr McBride added: “This winter, as yet, there have been no outbreaks of flu; no outbreaks of norovirus, the winter vomiting bug; and no outbreaks of RSV, the respiratory illness that affects our children so badly each winter …” Continue reading Seasonal flu and COVID