Northern Ireland Office

Type: Public Sector


The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) 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.

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.  The department has responsibility for:

  • electoral law
  • human rights and equality
  • national security in Northern Ireland
  • the British government's approach to the legacy of the Troubles

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

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.

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

  • the Department of Foreign Affairs (on the peace process);
  • the Department of the Taoiseach (supporting the role of the Taoiseach in the peace process);
  • the Department of Justice and Equality (on national security matters and the legacy of the Troubles);
  • the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (on electoral law).

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