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Stormont is the grandiose building in a Belfast suburb which housed the Northern Irish Parliament 1932–72. Its absurdly lengthy drive possesses an imposing statue of a defiant Sir Edward Carson. The word became a synonym for intransigent unionism. H. M. Pollock, minister of finance in the first Northern Irish government, said: ‘It was the outward and visible proof of the permanence of our institutions.’ Since 1972 and direct rule from Westminster, it has been little used: the castle alongside it houses British government officials. But since 2007 it has been home to the power-sharing executive.

Michael Hopkinson

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