Fearghal McKinney

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Fearghal McKinney
Profile fearghal mckinney.jpg
Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Assumed office
14 November 2015
Preceded by Dolores Kelly
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for South Belfast
In office
16 September 2013 – 5 May 2016
Preceded by Conall McDevitt
Succeeded by Clare Bailey
Personal details
Born (1962-07-06) 6 July 1962 (age 54)
Derry, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party SDLP
Spouse(s) Maire
Children 3
Residence Belfast
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Fearghal McKinney (born 6 July 1962 in Derry, Northern Ireland)[1] is an Irish politician and former journalist. In 2013, he was elected a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the South Belfast constituency. Since November 2015, he has been deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). However, despite his position in the SDLP, Fearghal lost his seat in South Belfast, in the following election.

Broadcasting career[edit]

McKinney was a reporter and presenter[2] on UTV Live, joining the station in 1994.[1] Before joining UTV, he was a journalist at The Impartial Reporter in his hometown of Enniskillen and Downtown Radio.[3] McKinney was educated at St Michael's College, Enniskillen.[4]

In addition to his work for UTV Live, McKinney presented the series Sunday Issue and The Issue for UTV from 2003 to 2004.[3][5] He has also reported on, introduced television debates about, and co-hosted UTV's coverage of local and general elections.[6][7] McKinney was nominated in 2006 for the RTS Award for Nations and Regions Presenter.[8]

In January 2009, McKinney announced his departure from UTV, and left the station that month.[9]

Political career[edit]

McKinney unsuccessfully contested the Parliamentary constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone in the 2010 Westminster general election for the Social Democratic and Labour Party.[10] He was selected to replace Conall McDevitt as MLA for South Belfast [11] and became an MLA on 16 September 2013.[12]

McKinney has been appointed SDLP Health Spokesperson sitting on the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. He is also a member of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. On 14 November 2015, he was elected deputy leader of the SDLP.[13]

Since becoming an MLA, Fearghal has raised a number of health issues within the Northern Ireland Assembly including the introduction of amendments to ban smoking in cars with children.[14] He has also tabled a number of motions for debate on the Transforming Your Care plan, on older people's care, autism services, and mental health services.[15]

On 25 June 2015, Fearghal was selected as an SDLP candidate for South Belfast in the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election on 5 May 2016. Which he was unsuccessful in defending the seat he inherited from Conall McDevitt.

Personal life[edit]

McKinney is married with three children and lives in Belfast.

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Conall McDevitt
MLA for South Belfast
2013 - 2016
Succeeded by
Clare Bailey


  1. ^ a b Fearghal McKinney's profile on u.tv WebArchive.org
  2. ^ UTV News Presenters Archived 23 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. UTV Today
  3. ^ a b "Interview: So who cut your hair, son?" Belfast Telegraph, 2 April 2003; accessed 16 June 2008
  4. ^ The Fermanagh Herald. McKinney wins South Belfast MLA seat. 12 September 2013. Accessed 14 July 2016.
  5. ^ BFI Film and TV Database
  6. ^ Election 2007 - Election Live UTV Today
  7. ^ Election 2007 - The UTV Debate UTV Today
  8. ^ RTS Programme Award Winners 2006
  9. ^ "Two popular faces leaving UTV" News Letter, 20 January 2009; accessed 20 January 2009
  10. ^ "Former UTV man Fearghal McKinney to seek SDLP selection". BBC News. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Fearghal McKinney chosen as MLA to replace SDLP's Conall McDevitt". BBC News. 12 September 2013. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "SDLP leadership: Colum Eastwood wins contest against Alasdair McDonnell". BBC News. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "MLAs ban smoking in cars when children present". News Letter. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Northern Ireland Assembly No Day Named List". Retrieved 10 March 2016.