Office of the Speaker
Welcome to the Office of the Speaker Home Page
My name is William Hay and I was elected as Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 7 May 2007, the two previous Speakers having been appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
I am immensely proud to be the first elected Speaker of the Assembly and consider it an honour and a privilege to have been elected unanimously by my peers.
As Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly I perform three main roles: procedural, corporate and representational.
In this role I chair plenary sessions of the Assembly, calling Members to speak on debates, maintaining order in the Chamber and replying to areas of dispute raised by Members. As Speaker, I am politically impartial and do not participate in any debates in the Assembly. In this work I am assisted by two Deputy Speakers: Mr John Dallat (SDLP), Mr Roy Beggs (UUP) and a principal Deputy Speaker Mr Francie Molloy (SF). I also chair meetings of the Business Committee which is responsible for determining the business to be discussed in plenary sessions.
In this role I chair the Assembly Commission which is responsible under legislation to ensure that the Assembly is provided with the property, staff and services it requires to carry out its work.
As Speaker I also perform an important representational role which includes: receiving VIP visitors to the Assembly, such as Heads of State, Ambassadors and senior political figures; attending external events to promote the work of the Northern Ireland Assembly, such as officially opening the Assembly marquee at the Balmoral Show; and hosting events at Parliament Buildings to widen public access to their locally devolved institution, such as the Speaker’s St. Patrick’s Day Event and Christmas Reception.