He was a trade union and Northern Ireland Labour Party member, he stood unsuccessfully for elections on a non-sectarian socialist platform. He was founding chairman of the Peace Train Organisation which protested against the bombing of the Dublin-Belfast railway line.
McAughtry has made many contributions to radio and television programmes, giving his memories of life in Belfast as well as political analysis during the troubles. He was also a regular columnist in The Irish Times.
Sam McAughtry was elected a member of the Irish Senate in 1996 by the Industrial and Commercial Panel. Others from Northern Ireland such as Gordon Wilson, Maurice Hayes, John Robb, Sam Kyle, Seamus Mallon and Brid Rodgers were appointed by the Taoiseach.
He was introduced on 28 February, welcomed as a rare northern Protestant representative, and made his first contribution in response.
|“||"As I stated on the day of my election, it is my dearest wish to see this island inhabited by five million Irish people, living in two jurisdictions with consent, but with institutions established to emphasise their Irishness."||”|
- The Sinking of The Kenbane Head (1977), an autobiography
- Play It Again Sam (1978)
- Blind Spot (1979)
- Sam McAughtry's Belfast (1981), a collection of sketches
- McAughtry's War (1985), autobiography and autobiographical fiction
- Hillman Street High Roller (1994), autobiography and autobiographical fiction
- Down in the Free State (1987), a travel book
- Belfast Stories (1993)
- Touch and Go (1993), a novel
- On the outside looking in, A Memoir (2003)
- Date of birth given as 1921 on fly-leaf and also on page one of text of "McAughtry's War" (Blackstaff Press, 1985).
- 1998 Assembly Election Results Belfast North (ARK)
- McAughtry gets three life terms - Irish Writers Union, October 2007