Arlene Foster Biography

(Political Leader)
Arlene Foster

Birthday: July 3, 1970 (Cancer)

Born In: Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

Arlene Foster is a Northern Irish politician, a former leader of the 'Democratic Unionist Party,' and the current first minister of her country (since January 2020). She has earlier served as the first minister of her country (from January 2016 to January 2017), along with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, who resigned after the 'Renewable Heat Incentive' (RHI) scandal surfaced. According to the power-sharing agreement of her country, Foster was called to step down. She began her political career since her days at 'Queen's University.' She was a member of the 'Ulster Young Unionist Council' back then. Foster resigned from the ‘Ulster Unionist Party’ (UUP) in 2003. She joined the 'Democratic Unionist Party' (DUP) the following year and successfully ran for the seat of the councilor of the ‘Fermanagh District Council.’ Foster filled in the vacated position of the first minister in 2010. Foster also served in the ‘Northern Ireland Executive,’ as the minister of the environment (2007–2008), the minister for enterprise and investment (2008–2015), and the minister for finance and personnel (2015–2016).

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In July

Also Known As: Arlene Isabel Foster

Age: 51 Years, 51 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Brian Foster

father: John Kelly

mother: Georgina Kelly J

siblings: David Kelly, Julie Foster, Linda Kelly

children: Ben Foster

Born Country: Northern Ireland

Political Leaders British Women

More Facts

education: Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (1982–1989), Queen's University Belfast

Childhood & Early Life
Arlene Foster was born Arlene Isabel Kelly, on July 17, 1970 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Her father was a 'Royal Ulster Constabulary' reservist.
She attended the 'Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School' (1982–1989) and is a law graduate from 'Queen's University,' Belfast. She became a member of the university's 'Unionist Association,' which operated as part of the 'Ulster Unionist Party' (UUP). She later chaired the association from 1992 to 1993.
During the late 20th century ethnic-nationalist conflict called 'The Troubles,' Foster's father was shot in an assassination attempt. The 'Irish Republican Army' bombed her school bus because the driver served in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment.'
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Foster chaired the youth wing of the ‘UUP,’ the 'Ulster Young Unionist Council,' in 1995. The following year, she was named an honorary secretary of the 'Ulster Unionist Council.'

Arlene Foster was an elected 'Ulster Unionist' in the 2003 assembly elections. She also became a member of the ''baby barristers,'' the ‘UUP's right-wing faction, and opposed party leader David Trimble and his decision to support the 'Belfast Agreement.'

In 2004, Foster left the ‘UUP.’ His decision was reportedly a result of her strong commitment toward the Northern Ireland-based international Protestant fraternal order called the 'Loyal Orange Institution' (or the 'Orange Order').
After negotiations between the ‘UUP’ and the 'Democratic Unionist Party' (DUP), she represented the latter in her 2005 U.K. general election run for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. She held the second place in the 2005 general election.
Foster represented her hometown during her tenure as a councilor on the ‘Fermanagh District Council’ from 2005 to 2010.

On January 11, 2010, Arlene Foster officially replaced the first minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, who had temporarily stepped down for 6 weeks. However, he returned on February 3, 2010, before his planned sabbatical ended.

Foster then assumed the duties of the Northern Irish environment minister. In September 2007, she privately backed a new project for the development of the ‘Giant's Causeway,’ a “World Heritage Site” located in County Antrim, on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The project also included establishing a new visitors' center at the site.
The project was later affected by controversies. The privately allocated finances for the project were seized. The ‘DUP’ also got involved because the private developer of the project, Seymour Sweeney, was a member of the party. Since Foster, too, was a ‘DUP’ member, she denied her involvement. On January 29, 2008, she announced that she had declined Sweeney's proposal for a £21 million visitors' center, even though she had initially thought of approving it.
In 2008, she was named the assembly member of the year at the 'Women in Public Life Awards.'
Continue Reading Below
In 2011, during her tenure as the minister for enterprise, trade, and investment, Foster urged the 'Organised Crime Task Force' to get the 'Petrol licensing Consolidation (NI) Act 1929’ regulate fuel licensing, which she believed would reduce cases of fraud.
Foster served as the first minister of Northern Ireland from January 2016 to January 2017. In that capacity, she categorically supported ‘Brexit’ and welcomed talks for progress. She is credited for introducing a super-fast broadband connection in an attempt to make international communications smoother and to acquire more international deals. The sales and purchase taxes were reduced, which encouraged business at the 'Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Investment' (DETI), which is now called the 'Department for the Economy.'
During her tenure, Foster also supported private enterprises. However, public-sector employment had declined in her tenure.
In May 2018, she led an 'Orange Order' march in Fife, Scotland.

Arlene Foster was re-elected as the first minister on January 11, 2020.


In June 2012, Arlene Foster criticized a documentary shown by the 'Co-operative Group.' She argued that the documentary presented a partial approach toward the debate over hydraulic fracturing and that the group supported it, contrary to its claims of being ethically strict.

In March 2014, Foster was criticized for her remark (involving "deeply insulting language") on fellow MLA, Anna Lo's comment. She was called for an apology. The base of the criticism was Foster's double standards, as she chose to oppose Lo's comment but remained silent on 'Progressive Unionist Party' leader Billy Hutchinson's comment, which was arguably more derogatory.
In January 2016, when Foster was about to be named the first minister, she created controversy for not attending the official celebrations of the 1916 rebellion against the British rule, in Dublin. She believed that the uprising was “an attack on democracy.”

In her tenure as the first minister, Arlene Foster supported conservative social issues and the government in Westminster, which made her a menace to her left-wing critics.

In December 2016, Foster was heavily criticized for the failure of the 'Renewable Heat Incentive' (RHI) scheme (green energy scheme), set up by the ‘DETI.’ The failure was termed as the ''Cash for Ash'' scandal. Several senior civil servants involved in the project and ‘DETI’ minister Jonathan Bell suggested its closure. They argued that the project could exceed the planned budget. The scheme was accused of being corrupt.
Foster, however, reportedly campaigned for the scheme. Hence, she was called to resign from her post. She refused to step down or resign. Instead, she counter-attacked those who demanded her resignation, labeling them as "misogynists and male chauvinists."
The then-deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, resigned on January 9, 2017, in the wake of the ‘RHI’ scandal. According to the guidelines of the 'Good Friday Agreement' (a power-sharing agreement regulated in Northern Ireland), she could not continue as the first minister if the deputy first minister resigned.
Family & Personal Life

Arlene Foster is married to Brian Foster and has three children: Sarah, George, and Ben.

Follow Arlene Foster On:

See the events in life of Arlene Foster in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Arlene Foster Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Ben Foster
Ben Foster
Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan
Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart
Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon
(British, Scottish)
Zac Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith
Jess Phillips
Jess Phillips
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Chris Patten
Chris Patten