Paul Jonathan Givan (born 12 October 1981) is a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA in Northern Ireland who served as the Minister for Communities in the Northern Ireland Executive from 2016 until its collapse in January 2017.

Paul Givan
Paul Givan DUP.jpg
Minister for Communities
In office
May 2016 – 26 January 2017
Preceded byThe Lord Morrow
Succeeded byDeirdre Hargey
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Lagan Valley
Assumed office
June 2010
Preceded byJeffrey Donaldson
Councillor for Lisburn City Council
In office
WardLisburn Town North
Personal details
Born (1981-10-12) 12 October 1981 (age 38)
Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
NationalityNorthern Irish
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party


Givan was educated at Laurelhill Community College, 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, aged 23.[1]

Political careerEdit

Givan was first co-opted to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 2010, replacing Jeffrey Donaldson.[2]

In May 2016, Givan was appointed Minister for Communities [3] 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.[4]



Givan supports creationism and was responsible for a motion calling for schools in Lisburn to teach alternatives to the theory of evolution.[5] The motion was passed by Lisburn City Council in September 2007 and the controversial DUP recommendation by its Corporate Services Committee that it write to post primary schools in the area asking what plans they have to develop teaching material in relation to 'creation, intelligent design and other theories of origin'.[citation needed]

Prostitution legislationEdit

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.[6]

Freedom of Conscience Amendment BillEdit

In February 2015, Givan proposed a Northern Ireland Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill, after controversy and legal action arose over a religious bakery, "Ashers Baking Company", having refused to bake a cake in support of same-sex marriage.[7] This motion caused uproar on popular websites like Twitter, having led to an American petition against the bill, receiving 100,000 signatures in 48 hours.[8] Stephen Fry promptly commented on this bill, saying that it was "sick" and that "once again the religious right twist truth to present themselves as victims".[9] On October 10, 2018, the British Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the bakery, stating that the refusal was related to the choice of order and not the customer's sexual orientation.[10]

Líofa Bursary SchemeEdit

In December 2016, Givan cut funding for the Líofa Gaeltacht scheme, which enabled 100 people to go to the Donegal Gaeltacht and learn Irish. His decision to cut funding for the Irish language scheme prompted Gerry Adams to label him as an "ignoramus".[11] Martin McGuinness claimed the removal of the Bursary Scheme as "the straw that broke the camels back" in his resignation speech from the role of Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly leading to a political crisis in the Stormont Executive.[12]

Givan tweeted on 12 January 2017 that "My decision on the Líofa Bursary Scheme was not a political decision. I have now identified the necessary funding to advance this scheme."[13]


  1. ^ "Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - Northern Ireland". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Givan to take up Donaldson's role". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Northern Ireland Executive ministers named: Independent Sugden named Justice Minister - DUP and Sinn Fein choose ministries". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Paul Givan: DUP sports minister's first appearance on GAA pitch",, 25 November 2016.
  5. ^ Hello (20 September 2007). "Row Brews Over Dup Call For Schools To Teach Creationism - Ulster Star". Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  6. ^ Clarke, Liam (19 February 2014). "Prostitute in formal complaint to Assembly over grilling by DUP man". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ "DUP Meet Catholic Bishops to Discuss Protection of Religious Freedom". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Over 148,000 sign petition against anti-gay Northern Ireland conscience clause bill". PinkNews. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Stephen Fry says DUP conscience clause bill is 'sick'". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "RHI scandal: Gerry Adams says Sinn Féin will act over fiasco". BBC News. 8 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Martin McGuinness resigns as NI deputy first minister". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Liofa: DUP Irish language U-turn 'olive branch' rejected by Sinn Fein - countdown to election continues". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Jeffrey Donaldson
MLA for Lagan Valley
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Morrow
Minister for Communities
2016 – 2017
Office suspended