Aidan McAteer

Deputy first minister of Northern Ireland

Special adviser (unofficial)

A life-long Irish Republican, McAteer is not strictly a Spad to Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill, but he advises her daily at Stormont, and there are few who can match his influence within the senior ranks of Sinn Féin, a party he has been intimately involved with for 40 years. Having a serious criminal conviction – he is a former IRA prisoner – he is excluded from having a Spad post and is paid directly by the Republican party. His father, Hugh, was leader of the IRA in Belfast during the 1940s and was also jailed.