Summary and Background
3.On 2nd December 1999 legislative and executive authority over a range of matters was transferred to the Northern Ireland Assembly. This followed the conclusion of a Review of the Implementation of the Belfast Agreement carried out by Senator George Mitchell. Announcing the outcome of the Review to Parliament (Hansard, 22nd November), the Secretary of State also indicated that should future circumstances require it the operation of the Assembly (and other institutions) could be suspended.
4.This Act provides for the suspension of the operation of devolved government in Northern Ireland.
5.The Act provides for executive responsibility for Northern Ireland to revert to the Secretary of State, and for the legislative power of the Assembly to be exercisable by Order in Council, during the suspension period.
6.The Secretary of State can end the period of suspension by making an order (referred to as a 'Restoration Order'). Before doing so he must take into account the outcome of a Review (see below).