Alex Attwood

Alex Attwood
Attwood in 2015
Minister of the Environment
In office
6 May 2011  16 July 2013
Preceded by Edwin Poots
Succeeded by Mark H. Durkan
Minister for Social Development
In office
7 February 2010  6 May 2011
Preceded by Margaret Ritchie
Succeeded by Nelson McCausland
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Belfast West
In office
25 June 1998  26 January 2017
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Personal details
Born (1959-04-26) 26 April 1959
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party SDLP
Spouse(s) Orla Attwood
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Solicitor
Website Alex Attwood SDLP

Alex Attwood (born 26 April 1959) is an Irish politician, who served as Minister for Environment in the Northern Ireland Executive. He is a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and formerly represented Belfast West in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Early career

Educated at Queen's University, Belfast, where he served as President of the Students' Union, he later became a practising solicitor. Attwood was a member of Belfast City Council for the Upper Falls, West Belfast from 1985 to 2001. He was a former leader of the SDLP Belfast City Council Group. In 1996 he was an unsuccessful candidate in the Northern Ireland Forum election in West Belfast.[1] In 1997, he participated in negotiations for the first Nationalist Mayor of Belfast, having failed to secure his own nomination for the post within his political grouping.

In 1997, he was appointed by John Hume to the Dublin Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. Attwood was a member of the SDLP Talks Team, playing a key negotiating role on policing, human rights and justice issues. He was elected to Northern Ireland Assembly in June 1998. Attwood is the SDLP spokesperson on policing and has played a key role in negotiations on the Policing Bill. He was appointed to the Northern Ireland Policing Board in September 2001.

In May 2010, he succeeded Margaret Ritchie as Minister for Social Development.[2] In May 2011, he was appointed as Minister for Environment, succeeding Edwin Poots.[3] As Environment Minister, he has faced some opposition when trying to set up two national parks in Northern Ireland from the Ulster Farmer's Union. The president of the UFU, Harry Sinclair, said: "We have consistently highlighted that there are genuine and deep-seated concerns from our members across a very wide range of issues particularly on the areas of bureaucracy, additional restrictions, governance, access, liability, and the impact on the social structure of these areas. These very real issues clearly remain."[4]


Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly MLA for Belfast West
1998 – 2017
Seat abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Lennon
Chairperson of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Succeeded by
Patricia Lewsley
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Ritchie
Minister for Social Development
2010 – 2011
Succeeded by
Nelson McCausland
Preceded by
Edwin Poots
Minister of the Environment
2011 – 2013
Succeeded by
Mark H. Durkan
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