||This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Leader of the Alliance Party|
|Preceded by||Oliver Napier|
|Succeeded by||John Alderdice|
|Member of the European Parliament|
|Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly|
23 July 1948 |
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Alma mater||Queen's University Belfast|
John Walls Cushnahan (born 23 July 1948) is a former politician in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who served as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and then as a Member of the European Parliament for Fine Gael.
Cushnahan was educated at St Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School and Queen's University, Belfast and worked as a teacher before going into politics. He worked as General Secretary of the Alliance Party from 1974 until 1982 and was a member of Belfast City Council between 1977 and 1985.
In 1982 he was elected to the Prior Assembly for North Down and two years later he became the new leader of Alliance, succeeding Oliver Napier. During his tenure as leader he sought to strengthen the party's links with the British Liberal Party. The Anglo Irish Agreement was signed during this period and Cushnahan faced the difficult position of giving Alliance support to it and facing the united opposition of the Unionist parties. However, when the Assembly was dissolved in 1986, Cushnahan found it financially difficult to remain in politics and so stood down as leader in 1987 to be succeeded by John Alderdice.
Two years later Cushnahan made a surprise political comeback when he moved to the Republic of Ireland and stood as a Fine Gael candidate in the 1989 election to the European Parliament, winning a seat in the Munster constituency. He was an MEP for fifteen years before retiring at the 2004 elections.
|Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)|
|New assembly||MPA for North Down
|Party political offices|
|General Secretary of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
|Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland