Arlene Foster is recognised as a strong advocate for Unionism in the West of the country and is a politician who never forgets where she has come from. She is a firm believer in grassroots politics. Born and bred in South East Fermanagh, Arlene now lives with husband Brian and their three children at Colebrooke, Co. Fermanagh.
Arlene was awarded devolved Assembly Member of the Year 2008 by the Women in Public life Awards. This award recognised the significant contribution that Arlene had made in the NI Assembly. A Lawyer by profession Arlene has served the constituency since 2003. Since the return of devolution Arlene has served as Environment Minister, Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister and also took on the role of acting First Minister on behalf of Peter Robinson in Jan/Feb 2010.
A former member of the Policing Board, Arlene worked closely with the Party Leader during the negotiations on the devolution of Policing and Justice.
During the recession, Arlene had steadfastly steered the economy through difficult times and has helped to bring thousands of new jobs to Northern Ireland. She has introduced policies to help residents in Tyrone and Fermanagh including the introduction of a new rural planning policy to replace PPS14, greater support for small and medium sized firms to steer through the recession, and improved telecommunication infrastructure.
Whether she is promoting Northern Ireland as a Tourist destination of choice or as a place to do business in, Arlene is as comfortable talking to world leaders as she is talking to local residents and businesses.
In 2015, Arlene was appointed as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and later appointed as the First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Education & Career
– Collegiate Grammar School for Girls, Enniskillen, 1982 – 1989.
– Queens University, Belfast, Law School, LLB (Hons) Degree; Certificate in Prof Legal Studies.
– Private Practice Solicitor since qualification to date, firstly in Enniskillen & Portadown since January 2002.
– Joined UUP whilst at Queens University.
– Chair of Queens Ulster Unionist Association 1992/1993.
– Chair Ulster Young Unionist Council 1995.
– Election Agent for UUP at Forum Elections 1996.
– Resigned UUP 18th December 2003.
– Joined DUP 5th January 2004.
– Executive Member of DUP.
-Minister of The Environment 2007-2008
-Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment 2008-2015
-Acting First Minister Jan-Feb 2010
-Minister of Finance and Personnel 2015-2016
-First Minister 2016 – present
-‘Minister of the Year’ – BBC The View Awards 2016
-Appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in 2016