Brian Maginess

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Brian Maginness
Minister for Labour of
Northern Ireland
In office
2 August 1945 – 12 April 1949
Minister of Home Affairs for
Northern Ireland
In office
4 November 1949 – 26 October 1953
Minister of Finance for
Northern Ireland
In office
13 February 1953 – 20 April 1956
Attorney General of
Northern Ireland
In office
14 April 1956 – 20 March 1964
Member of the
Northern Ireland House of Commons
In office
1938–1964
Constituency Iveagh
Personal details
Born 10 July 1901
Died 16 April 1967
Royal Victoria Hospital
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Religion Christian - Anglican

William Brian Maginess, QC (10 July 1901 – 16 April 1967) was a member of the Government of Northern Ireland, who was widely seen as a possible successor to Lord Brookeborough as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Born in 1901, the son of a Lisburn solicitor, he was educated at The Wallace High School and Trinity College Dublin[1] from where he graduated with a Law degree (LLD), and was called to the Northern Irish bar in 1923.

Having served in the Royal Corps of Artillery during the Second World War he entered the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1938 when he won the Lisburn centered seat of Iveagh. He entered the Cabinet of Sir Basil Brooke in 1945 when he became Minister of Labour and his stints as the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance (de facto Deputy Prime Minister) left him favorite to succeed Brooke as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

In the early 1950s however, Maginess became a hate figure for the Orange Institution when he banned marches through nationalist areas in Counties Down and Londonderry. Brooke, whilst sympathetic to his decisions, was forced to sacrifice Maginess to preserve progressive legislation, and he was demoted to the non Cabinet post of Attorney General in April 1956.

While Attorney General, Maginess was party to the case of Attorney General for Northern Ireland v Gallagher [1961] 3 All Er 299, which remains authority in the law of Northern Ireland and England & Wales for the principle that Dutch courage is not a defence in the criminal law. Counsel for Gallagher were future Attorney General and Lord Justice, Basil Kelly, and future Stormont MP, and Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in England, Richard Ferguson.

In December 1959, Ian Paisley led a demonstration of Ulster Protestant Action members to Stormont Castle to protest at Brooke's refusal to dismiss Maginess and Sir Clarence Graham for making speeches at an Ulster Young Unionist Council event supporting Catholic membership of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Having been appointed a King's Counsel in 1946 he was appointed a County Court Judge in 1964 when he resigned from Parliament. He died three years later in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. A plaque in his memorial is cited inside the Church of Ireland parish church in Hillsborough, the Church where he is buried.[2]

Sources[edit]

  • 'The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882-1973 : its development and organisation' (1973), J F Harbinson
  • 'Paisley' (1985), Moloney & Pollak
  • 'Brian Maginess and the Limits of Liberal Unionism', Irish Review, 25, 1999–2000, Henry Patterson
  • 'Ireland since 1939' (2006), Henry Patterson
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
John Charles Wilson
Member of Parliament for Iveagh
1938 - 1964
Succeeded by
Samuel Magowan
Political offices
Preceded by
William Grant
Minister of Labour
1945 - 49
Succeeded by
Harry Midgley
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1946
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock
Preceded by
Roland Nugent
Minister of Commerce and Production
1949
Succeeded by
William McCleery
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1949 - 53
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
John Maynard Sinclair
Minister of Finance
1953 - 56
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1956 - 64
Succeeded by
Edward Warburton Jones