Seamus Close

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Seamus Close
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Lagan Valley
In office
25 June 1998 – 7 March 2007
Preceded by New Creation
Succeeded by Trevor Lunn
Personal details
Born Seamus Anthony Close
(1947-08-12) 12 August 1947 (age 66)
Political party Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

Seamus Anthony Close OBE (born 12 August 1947) is a Northern Irish politician, former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Lagan Valley and a former deputy leader of the Alliance Party.[1]

In August 1981 he was the Alliance candidate for the second Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election. The following year under the redistribution and expansion of Northern Ireland's constituencies his local political base became part of the new Lagan Valley constituency which he has contested in the Alliance interest in all elections since 1983 apart from the 1986 by-election called in protest against the Anglo-Irish Agreement when the local Alliance branch declined to contest the seat as they believed the by-election was a political stunt.

Close also held several positions in the Alliance, including serving as Chair between 1981 and 1982 and as Deputy Leader from 1991 until 2001. He was often a member of the key Alliance delegations in successive talks about the future of the province, culminating in the Belfast Agreement of 1998.

In the 1996 elections for the Northern Ireland Forum Close stood at the head of the Alliance's list for Lagan Valley but the party failed to secure enough votes to win one of the local seats. Close was also included on the province-wide list and as the most senior Alliance member to not be elected locally he won one of Alliance's two seats. In the 1998 election for the new Northern Ireland Assembly he topped the poll in Lagan Valley and gained a further personal triumph in the 2001 general election when he had the highest vote share of any Alliance candidate.

In June 2001 he resigned as Deputy Leader of the party,[2] citing differences with the leadership of Séan Neeson. Close has remained a member of the Assembly and successfully held his seat in the 2003 Assembly election.

In July 2005, Mr Close proposed that the Lisburn Council deny gay couples access to the council's designated wedding facility if they were seeking a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The council adopted his recommendation to the great annoyance of many liberal campaigners. This ran against Alliance policy, which had been strongly supportive of the introduction of civil partnership laws, and he was publicly criticised by other senior party members.[1]

In November 2006, Close announced that he was retiring from politics[1] In the 2007 election he was succeeded as Alliance Party Lagan Valley Assembly representative by current Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Trevor Lunn.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Endgame for Close after 33 years". BBC. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Noel McAdam (November 15, 2006). "A final salvo from Seamus Close at the end of 30 years of politics". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  3. ^ Noel McAdam (27 February 2007). "Close call as Seamus bows out of bearpit". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Mawhinney
Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
1991 - 2001
Succeeded by
Eileen Bell
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivan Davis
Mayor of Lisburn
1993 - 1994
Succeeded by
?
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for Lagan Valley
1998 - 2007
Succeeded by
Trevor Lunn