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The Christian faith that motivates the new First Minister of Northern Ireland Paul Givan

by Cara Bentley
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Paul Givan has been nominated to be the next First Minister of Northern Ireland - so what do we know about his Christian faith?

Givan, if approved by Sinn Fein, will replace Arlene Foster who was also a Christian, as are most of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland. Foster stepped down as both First Minister and leader of the DUP but no one wanted to take on both roles. 

Paul Givan, 39, will take on the First Minister role in Northern Ireland, with Edwin Poots already having been chosen as the leader of the DUP. 

Givan is a committed Christian and has spoken about attacks on church buildings, the need for consistency in the approach to places of worship during Covid restrictions and abortion - with a bill in his name seeking to protect those diagnosed with non-fatal conditions such as Down's Syndrome, club foot and cleft lip, all of which can currently be aborted up until birth.


He said in a previous interview: "My faith determines my values; it's intrinsic to who I am. I am a Christian, first and foremost, a husband, a father, a unionist." He added in response to how he felt about dying: "Death doesn't frighten me at all because I've put my trust in the Lord."

In September 2007, he attracted controversy because he proposed a motion to contact all secondary school science departments in the city of Lisburn asking them to supply information as to the plans they had to "develop teaching material in relation to creation, intelligent design and other theories of origin". 

He is also unpopular among some for cutting funding for an Irish language bursary scheme in 2016 while communities minister, which was cited as one of the reasons for the following breakdown in the power sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein. 

He is proud of his loyalist Protestant heritage; his grandfather and his siblings were founding DUP members and Paul Givan has been the MLA for Lagan Valley since 2010. 

He married Emma at Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church in 2004 and they have three children. 

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