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Guests attending the opening of the Northern Ireland Assembly and overall cost.

6 July 2007
Freedom of Information Act 2000

A full list of the guests at the opening of the Northern Ireland Assembly on Tuesday May 8th. In case there is a distinction I am asking for a list of both the people who were in the public gallery and of the people who attended the reception in the great hall.


A list of guests of the Speaker is attached at Annex A. We do not hold records of the names of Members’ guests and I understand that you have already received a list of guests of the First and deputy First Ministers from their offices.

Guest Information

MLAs’ Guests

Speaker’s Guests/VIPs

Members of the Public

DUP – 27

Sinn Fein – 21

UUP – 14

SDLP – 12

Alliance – 5

Others – 2


(See Annexe A)




(Seated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.)

 Total = 81

Total = 28

Total = 29

What was the basis of allocation of places to members of the public and press?


The allocation of gallery seating was decided by the Speaker and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and was based on the following:

  • 30 seats for Press
  • 28 seats for Speaker’s guests/VIPs
  • 81 seats for Members’ guests*
  • 29 seats for the public

*This provided seating for 75% of the number of MLAs (108) and was allocated directly proportionate to Party strength.

What is the estimated cost of the event?





Broadcasting/ Media


Moving & recalibrating x-ray machine.

Cobra Security.

Stormont Hotel.

Belfast Bus Company.


Staging for Great Hall.

Chair hire


Hospitality/refreshments for guests.

B/casting Staff


satellite van, etc

Marquee hire.

Phone lines for media tent.


Additional flowers, etc.





£ 33,340


Total = £52,654.02
Annexe A
  • Speaker Bell
  • Mr Derek Bell
  • Mrs Margaret Watson
  • Lord Alderdice
  • Mr Marshall Hay
  • Mrs Diane Irwin
  • Paula Dobriansky, US Delegation
  • Senator Edward Kennedy, US Delegation
  • Mr Thomas Foley, US Ambassador to Ireland
  • Mr Richard Power, US Delegation
  • Baroness Paisley
  • Mr Stephen Cassells
  • Ms Sharon Huddleston
  • Mr Huddleston
  • Ms Lydia Huddleston
  • The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister
  • The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State
  • The Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP, Home Secretary
  • Mr Jonathon Powell
  • Mr Bertie Ahern TD, Taoiseach
  • Mr Michael McDowell TD, Taniste
  • Mr Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Mr Rory Brady, Irish Attorney General
  • Mrs Bernie McGuinness
  • Mrs Peggy McGuinness
  • Father Alec Reid
  • Rev Harold Good
  • Mr Ronnie Kasrils MP, Republic of South Africa


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