|Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
4 June 2009
|Preceded by||Jim Allister|
|Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast West
26 November 2003 – 7 March 2007
|Preceded by||Joe Hendron|
|Succeeded by||Jennifer McCann|
16 August 1958 |
Rathfriland, Northern Ireland
|Political party||Democratic Unionist Party|
|Alma mater||Queen's University Belfast|
Dodds was born into a farming family in Rathfriland, County Down where she attended Banbridge Academy before moving on to study at Queen's University Belfast. While studying, she met her future husband and future DUP MP for North Belfast, Nigel Dodds.
Dodds qualified as a teacher and taught history and English in Laurelhill High School, Lisburn. In 2003, she was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast West. She was the first Unionist elected to a regional assembly from West Belfast in more than 20 years (the last being Thomas Passmore to the 1982-6 Assembly). Her strongest support base during the election campaign was in the Shankill Road area of the constituency.
Following her election to the Assembly, Dodds contested the Court District Electoral Area in the 2005 Local Government Elections. On that occasion she polled in excess of three electoral quotas and her surplus votes enabled the election of two running mates. In that election, she polled more votes than any other local government candidate in Northern Ireland. Despite increasing her vote from the 2003 Assembly election, she narrowly lost her seat to Sinn Féin in 2007.
Dodds has also been active within Belfast City Council, where she was Chief Whip of the 14-councillor DUP group. She chaired the Policy and Resources Committee on the council and actively supported a campaign to host a homecoming parade for the Royal Irish Regiment and other armed forces returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
European Parliament 2009-Present
Despite her election, the results were disappointing for Dodds and her party. The DUP's share of the vote fell 14% to just over 18%. While the Westminster expenses scandal and a perceived poor performance in live debates were cited as reasons for the poor result, Dodds herself blamed the decline in DUP votes on former DUP member Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) splinter party, who gained 66,000 first preference votes. Allister had accused the DUP of "betrayal" in going into government with Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin topped the poll, the first time a republican party had done so in a European election in Northern Ireland. Dodds was elected third, behind Jim Nicholson of the UUP, and with fewer votes than the quota (the elections being held under the single transferable vote system).
- "Your MEPs : Diane DODDS". European Parliament. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
- "Diane Dodds to fight Euro poll". BBC News Online. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "DUP's worst ever Euro poll result". BBC News Online. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "BNP leader Nick Griffin snubbed on first day in European Parliament as fellow MEP refuses to sit next to him". Daily Mail. London. 14 July 2009.
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|MLA for Belfast West
2003 - 2007