Seamus Mallon

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Seamus Mallon
Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland
In office
1 July 1998 – 6 November 2001
First Minister David Trimble
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Mark Durkan
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Newry and Armagh
In office
25 June 1998 – 26 November 2003
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Dominic Bradley
Member of Parliament
for Newry and Armagh
In office
23 January 1986 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Jim Nicholson
Succeeded by Conor Murphy
Seanad Éireann
In office
18 February 1982 – 24 November 1982
Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1936-08-17) 17 August 1936 (age 77)
Markethill, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Social Democratic and Labour Party
Spouse(s) Gertrude Cush
Children 1
Alma mater St. Mary's University College
Profession Teacher
Religion Roman Catholicism

Seamus Frederick Mallon (born 17 August 1936) is an Irish politician who was the first deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party from 1979 to 2001.

Background[edit]

Seamus Mallon was born in the largely Protestant village of Markethill and was educated at the Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School in Newry and St. Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh. As a career he chose teaching like his father, becoming headmaster of St. James's Primary School in Markethill.[1] Mallon was also involved in the Gaelic Athletic Association, playing Gaelic football for County Armagh.

Introduction to politics[edit]

During the sixties he was involved in the civil rights movement,[2] especially in his native Armagh. In 1979, when John Hume went from being deputy leader of the SDLP (under Gerry Fitt) to leader, Mallon became deputy leader.[2] He was elected to the first power-sharing Assembly in 1973, and to the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention in 1975[1] representing Armagh. Between May and December 1982 Mallon was appointed by the then Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, Charles Haughey to the Republic's upper house, Seanad Éireann.

In 1982 he was elected to the new Northern Ireland Assembly, set up as part of then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior's rolling devolution. However due to his membership of the Seanad he was disqualified.[1] Under legislation of the time, no elected member of a British parliament or regional assembly could serve in a parliament outside the United Kingdom without losing their British seat. That restriction was removed with regards to the Oireachtas by the Disqualifications Act 2000.

In 1986 he was elected to Westminster as an MP for Newry & Armagh, a seat he held until 2005. He won the seat in a by-election to replace Jim Nicholson, who had resigned his seat in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, along with all the other Northern Irish unionist MPs.[2] Nicholson was the only MP to fail to be re-elected.

Famously, Mallon asserted that the Good Friday Agreement was "Sunningdale for slow learners", referring to the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement.[3]

Deputy First Minister[edit]

Mallon has remained a strong opponent of IRA violence. He has also been in favour of police reform in Northern Ireland. In 1994 he became a member of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. Following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 Mallon became Deputy First Minister in the Assembly, serving alongside Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble.[4]

Retirement[edit]

In 2001 Seamus Mallon retired, along with John Hume, from the leadership of the SDLP.[5] Mark Durkan replaced both; Hume as leader and Mallon as Deputy First Minister, when the Northern Ireland Executive was re-established following a suspension.

Mallon did not contest his seat in the Stormont Assembly in the 2003 elections, and stood down at the 2005 Westminster election. His seat was taken, as expected, by Conor Murphy of Sinn Féin.[6]

Personal[edit]

He is married to the former Gertrude Cush, and they have one child.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Key players". The Daily Telegraph. 2001-10-25. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "Seamus Mallon: SDLP deputy leader". BBC News Online. 2001-03-15. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  3. ^ "Sad to say, end of Paisley is no reason to chuckle". The Independent. 2008-03-22. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  4. ^ "Trimble, Mallon elected leaders of N. Irish Assembly". CNN. 1998-07-01. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  5. ^ "Mallon ruled out as SDLP leader". BBC News Online. 2001-09-20. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Sinn Fein win Newry and Armagh". BBC News Online. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Hume
Deputy Leader of the SDLP
1979–2001
Succeeded by
Brid Rodgers
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jim Nicholson
Member of Parliament for Newry and Armagh
1986–2005
Succeeded by
Conor Murphy
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Newry and Armagh
1998–2003
Succeeded by
Dominic Bradley
Political offices
Preceded by
Office Created
Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Mark Durkan