|First Minister of Northern Ireland|
|Assumed office |
17 June 2021
Serving with Michelle O'Neill
|Preceded by||Arlene Foster|
|Minister for Communities|
25 May 2016 – 26 January 2017
|Preceded by||The Lord Morrow|
|Succeeded by||Deirdre Hargey|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly|
for Lagan Valley
|Assumed office |
14 June 2010
|Preceded by||Jeffrey Donaldson|
|Councillor for Lisburn City Council|
|Ward||Lisburn Town North|
|Born||12 October 1981|
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
|Political party||Democratic Unionist Party|
|Alma mater||University of Ulster|
Givan has served as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Lagan Valley since 2010. He served as the Minister for Communities in the Northern Ireland Executive under First Minister Arlene Foster from 2016 to 2017. On 17 June 2021, DUP Leader Edwin Poots nominated Givan to succeed Foster as First Minister. Appointed at age 39, Givan is the youngest First Minister in Northern Ireland's history.
Givan was educated at Laurelhill Community College, where he studied Business and History and is a graduate of the University of Ulster where he obtained a degree in Business Studies and completed an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice. He was first elected to Lisburn City Council in 2005. 
According to a 2014 article in the Belfast Telegraph, Givan's "first experience of 'real politics' came when he was 18", at which time he was part-time assistant in the constituency and Stormont offices of Edwin Poots. He was later to work as a special adviser when Poots was Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure between 2007–2008, and then again between 2009–2010 when he was Minister of the Environment. Givan has stated that his interest in the DUP resulted from listening to Ian Paisley – at a rally against the Good Friday Agreement in Kilkeel. "He captured me emotionally for the DUP and Peter Robinson's and Nigel Dodds' forensic analysis of the failing of the Agreement captured me intellectually", he said.
In May 2016, Givan was appointed Minister for Communities. As sports minister in November 2016, he visited a GAA club in Lisburn to award a grant and played Gaelic football with some child players of the club.
First Minister of Northern Ireland
In May 2021, there was speculation that Givan, having worked for Edwin Poots previously, might be nominated to become First Minister of Northern Ireland after Poots was elected DUP leader. On 8 June 2021, Poots announced Givan as "Northern Ireland's first minister designate".
On 17 June 2021, a letter from the DUP party chairman and other senior party members asked Poots to delay Givan's nomination as First Minister to oppose the British government's decision to introduce Irish language legislation in the Westminster Parliament. However, Poots nominated Givan as First Minister and Sinn Féin re-nominated Michelle O'Neill as deputy First Minister, restoring the Northern Ireland Executive. Prior to this nomination DUP officials held a vote and objected to Givan being nominated for the role. As such, within hours of his being sworn in as First Minister, Givan's DUP colleagues convened a party meeting to oust Poots as the leader of the party. Poots resigned shortly after, triggering another leadership contest.
On 19 June it was reported Givan had been informed by party officials that he would be required to resign as First Minister once the next DUP leader had been chosen. However in July the Irish News said Givan was expected to remain in his position until "later this year" after the new DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said in a UTV interview that he intended to resign his seat as a Westminster MP and become First Minister before the next Northern Ireland Assembly election, but also said that he did not yet know precisely how he would bring this about.
Givan is a creationist who was responsible for a motion calling for schools in Lisburn to teach creationist alternatives to evolution. The motion was passed by Lisburn City Council in 2007, and asked all post-primary schools in the area what plans they had to "develop teaching material in relation to creation, intelligent design and other theories of origin".
In 2014, a formal complaint was made by a sex worker, Laura Lee, over Givan's treatment of her after she had been invited to appear at a hearing to discuss proposed changes to prostitution legislation in Northern Ireland. He had asked her how much she charged, and said she was exploiting disabled people by not giving them discounts.
Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill
In February 2015, Givan proposed a Northern Ireland Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill, after controversy and legal action arose when Ashers Baking Company, a business owned by a religious family, refused to bake and decorate a cake with a message supportive of same-sex marriage. This motion led to a petition against the bill, which received 100,000 signatures in 48 hours. Stephen Fry described the bill as "sick" and said that "once again the religious right twist truth to present themselves as victims". The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission subsequently published an advisory noting that the "underlying premise" of the proposed bill (that "freedom to manifest one’s religion is undermined by the protection of individuals from discrimination") was unfounded, and that the Northern Ireland Assembly could not enact laws incompatible with existing conventions on human rights. In October 2018, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that the refusal of service had not been discriminatory as it related to the customer's choice of order and not the customer's sexual orientation.
Irish language scheme
In December 2016, Givan cut funding for the Líofa scheme, which enabled people to go to the Donegal Gaeltacht to learn Irish. This decision prompted Gerry Adams to label him as an "ignoramus", and Martin McGuinness described the removal of the Bursary Scheme as "the straw that broke the camel's back" in his resignation speech from the role of Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland leading to a political crisis in the Stormont Executive. Givan later tweeted that the "decision on the Líofa Bursary Scheme was not a political decision. I have now identified the necessary funding to advance this scheme."
- Kearney, Vincent (17 June 2021). "Givan, O'Neill installed as NI First and Deputy First Ministers". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
- Carrol, Rory (17 June 2021). "Northern Ireland: Paul Givan becomes first minister after Irish language deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
- Gordon, Gareth (8 June 2021). "Paul Givan: How will the new first minister handle the top job?". BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
- "Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – Northern Ireland". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Paul Givan: Conscience clause MLA a politician on a mission". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Paul Givan: How will the new first minister handle the top job?". BBC News. 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- "Givan to take up Donaldson's role". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Northern Ireland Executive ministers named: Independent Sugden named Justice Minister – DUP and Sinn Fein choose ministries". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- Simpson, Mark (25 November 2016). "Paul Givan: DUP sports minister's first appearance on GAA pitch". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
- Breen, Suzanne (2 May 2021). "Paul Givan could become First Minister if Poots wins DUP leadership". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
- Hutton, Brian (8 June 2021). "Paul Givan named as Northern Ireland's first minister designate". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
- "DUP leader Edwin Poots quits after revolt in party". independent.co.uk. Independent. 18 June 2021.
- "Edwin Poots is to stand down as DUP leader". Irish Times.
- "DUP: Paul Givan told he must resign as first minister". BBC News. 19 June 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2021 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Paul Givan to stay on as first minister 'until later this year'". Irish News. 6 June 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
Paul Givan is set to remain as First Minister for the summer when Sir Jeffrey Donaldson announces changes later within his party at the Stormont Assembly. Sir Jeffrey intends to stand down from his Westminster seat in Lagan Valley and take a place at Stormont. In a UTV interview on Monday evening, he said he hoped to do so "later this year" and take up the position of first minister before the next assembly election. However, he said he did not know yet exactly how he would make this happen.
- "DUP's Paul Givan to succeed Arlene Foster as Northern Ireland's first minister". independent.co.uk. The Independent. 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
Mr Givan [is] a creationist who has in the past supported the teaching of alternatives to evolution in schools
- "Row Brews Over Dup Call For Schools To Teach Creationism - Ulster Star". Lisburntoday.co.uk. 20 September 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2020.
- McCrory, Conor; Murphy, Colette (2009). "The Growing Visibility of Creationism in Northern Ireland: Are New Science Teachers Equipped to Deal with the Issues?". Evolution: Education and Outreach. 2 (3): 372–385. doi:10.1007/s12052-009-0141-4. ISSN 1936-6434.
- Clarke, Liam (19 February 2014). "Prostitute in formal complaint to Assembly over grilling by DUP man". Belfasttelegraph. BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "DUP Meet Catholic Bishops to Discuss Protection of Religious Freedom". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Over 148,000 sign petition against anti-gay Northern Ireland conscience clause bill". PinkNews. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Stephen Fry says DUP conscience clause bill is 'sick'". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Advice on Freedom of Conscience BIll". nihrc.org. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- "Ashers 'gay cake' row: Bakers win Supreme Court appeal". bbc.com. BBC News. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "RHI scandal: Gerry Adams says Sinn Féin will act over fiasco". BBC News. 8 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- "Martin McGuinness resigns as NI deputy first minister". BBC News. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Liofa: DUP Irish language U-turn 'olive branch' rejected by Sinn Fein - countdown to election continues". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 March 2017.