Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie resigns from the Northern Ireland Executive. Alex Attwood is the new Minister for Social Development.
The Northern Ireland Executive votes to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine passport beginning next month, which will contain a person's vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test result, and will be used to enter bars, restaurants and pubs.
The Northern Ireland Executive issues a stay-at-home order in Northern Ireland, which is currently in the second week of a six-week lockdown, legally enforceable from January 8, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Northern Ireland Executive agrees to impose a new lockdown beginning on Boxing Day, which means that non-essential shops will be closed from the end of trading on Christmas Eve. During the first week of lockdown, essential shops will have to close each day at 8:00 p.m. GMT.
Following a deal brokered by the British and Irish governments, the Northern Ireland Executive is restored with Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster as First Minister and Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill as deputy First Minister, ending three years of political deadlock. The previous government had collapsed in 2017 as the result of a renewable energy scandal involving Foster.
As a result of the local government failing to reconvene in time, the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 comes into effect. This means abortion is decriminalized in Northern Ireland, and same-sex marriage is scheduled to commence in February 2020.
Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie defeats Alasdair McDonnell in an election to become leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) following Mark Durkan's resignation yesterday. She is the first woman to take charge of the party in its history and the first female leader of a major party in Northern Ireland.