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Levels of Government

Northern Ireland currently has four levels of government: the UK Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, Local Councils and, until the UK leaves the European Union following the 'Brexit' vote, the European Parliament. So who decides what?

The Northern Ireland Assembly was established under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The UK Parliament devolved powers to the Assembly on Tuesday 2 December 1999. The transfer of powers ended Direct Rule by the UK Parliament.

The Assembly now has the power to legislate on a range of matters affecting the population of Northern Ireland. These are known as Transferred Matters. The Assembly also has responsibility for appointing the Executive Committee and scrutinising the work of Ministers and Departments.

Westminster retains certain legislative powers that are divided into Excepted and Reserved Matters.

Membership of the European Union means that European Legislation affects Northern Ireland.

At a local level, 11 Councils make decisions about service provision in areas like leisure and waste management.

Do you know which level of government decides on the different issues in your community? Think about the implications of devolution as you take a walk through our street scene to test what you know.