Northern Ireland Office

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO; Irish: Oifig Thuaisceart Éireann,[3] Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann Oaffis)[4] is a UK Government department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs. The NIO is led by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and is based at Stormont House in Belfast and 1 Horse Guards Road in London.

Northern Ireland Office
Department overview
Formed24 March 1972
Preceding Department
JurisdictionNorthern Ireland
Headquarters
  • Northern Ireland
  • Westminster
    • 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ
Employees167 (September 2011)[1]
Annual budget£23 million for 2011–12[2]
Minister responsible
Websitewww.gov.uk/nio
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Role

The NIO's role is to "maintain and support" the devolution settlement resulting from the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Agreement and the devolution of criminal justice and policing to the Northern Ireland Assembly.[5] The department has responsibility for:

It also represents Northern Irish interests at UK government level and the interests of the UK Government in Northern Ireland.[6]

The Northern Ireland Office has a close working relationship with the Irish government as a co-guarantor of the peace process; this includes the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and its joint secretariat.[7]

In the Irish Government, the NIO's main counterparts are:

History

Before partition, Ireland was governed through the Dublin Castle administration and the Home Office was also responsible for Irish affairs. From 1924 to 1972, Northern Ireland affairs were handled by the Northern Ireland Department of the Home Office.[13] In August 1969, for example, Home Secretary