Claire Hanna

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Claire Hanna
Claire Hanna.JPG
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Befast South
Assumed office
29 June 2015
Preceded by Alasdair McDonnell
Personal details
Born (1980-06-19) 19 June 1980 (age 38)
Connemara, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party SDLP
Spouse(s) Donal Lyons
Children 2
Alma mater Open University
Queen's University Belfast

Claire Hanna (born 19 June 1980) is a SDLP politician from Northern Ireland. She has been a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Belfast South since 2015.[1].


Born in Connemara, County Galway, Hanna has lived in South Belfast since the age of three. She attended St Bride's Primary and Rathmore Grammar School. She has an honours degree in International Relations from the Open University and a master's degree in Law from Queen’s University Belfast. Her professional background is in international development, latterly in a policy and education role, and included work in Bangladesh, Haiti and Zambia. She is married to Belfast SDLP Councillor Donal Lyons; the couple have two children.[2]

Political career[edit]

Hanna was elected to Belfast City Council, representing the Balmoral ward, from 2011 until her appointment as MLA, winning re-election in 2014.[3] During her time in council, she sat on the Strategic Policy & Resources and Town Planning committees as well as the Historic Centenaries Working group.[citation needed]

She brought the motion that led to Belfast becoming the first Living Wage council in Ireland – paying a fair wage to all employees – and introduced measures to combat the rise of predatory pay day lending, as well as leading successful campaigns for the reinstatement of Lisburn Road Post Office in 2013, better traffic management in Finaghy in 2014 and on a variety of issues like improving recycling facilities and sustainable transport.[citation needed]

She secured all party agreement to award the Freedom of Belfast to poet Michael Longley.[4] She initiated a campaign to name the new Greenway bridge after playwright and trade unionist Sam Thompson.[5] In the Assembly, she serves on the Regional Development Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Environment Committee and she chairs the Assembly All Party Groups on International Development and the Arts.[6]

Hanna was the first member of the SDLP to express concern about the decision of SDLP Newry councillors to vote to name a playpark after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.[7]

During the same period, Hanna was chair of the East Belfast Policing Board and Community Partnership. Her home was attacked in the midst of the flag protests.[8]


  1. ^ "SDLP's Claire Hanna to replace Alasdair McDonnell at Stormont". Belfast Telegraph. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "About Claire". Claire Hanna. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Claire Hanna MLA – SDLP". Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Michael Longley: Poet honoured with Freedom of Belfast". BBC News. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Sam bridges the gap in east Belfast as public tweets its approval". Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Northern Ireland Assembly". Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Unionist backing for SDLP councillor". 8 January 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "SDLP councillor Claire Hanna's home attacked". BBC News. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 


Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Alasdair McDonnell
MLA for Belfast South