John William Nixon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named John Nixon, see John Nixon (disambiguation).
Nixon pictured on an unknown date, possibly at an Orange Order parade.

John William Nixon, MBE (1880 – 11 May 1949), was a unionist politician in Northern Ireland who was alleged to be responsible for several atrocities, including the McMahon killings.

Born in Graddum, a townland located between the village of Kilnaleck and the hamlet of Crosskeys in County Cavan, Nixon became a district inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), and transferred to its successor in the then newly created region of Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). By 1922, he was responsible for controlling access to the Roman Catholic Ardoyne and "Bone" areas of Belfast, and worked closely with the Ulster Special Constabulary.

Irish nationalist writer and activist Michael Farrell has alleged that during this period he led the Cromwell Club, an unofficial organisation of security officials responsible for killing several Catholic civilians.[1] These allegations have not been independently confirmed and during his lifetime Nixon successfully sued The Derry Journal and a book publisher for libel. Nixon was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1923 "... for services rendered by him during the troubled period."

In 1924, Nixon, long a member of the Orange Order, made a political speech at an Orange lodge. This contravened RUC regulations, and he was dismissed on the orders of Sir James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.[1]

Nixon was elected to Belfast Corporation as an Independent Unionist, but at the Northern Ireland general election, 1925, he stood unsuccessfully as an Ulster Unionist Party candidate in Belfast North. In 1929, running once again as an Independent Unionist, he was narrowly elected as the MP for Belfast Woodvale.[2] From September 1932 until the 1933 election, he was the only opposition MP attending the Parliament. Around this time, he joined the Ulster Protestant League, an organisation with a reputation for anti-Catholicism.[1]

Nixon held his seat until his death in 1949, denying the murder allegations against him until the end of his life.


  1. ^ a b c Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland: The Orange State
  2. ^ Northern Ireland Parliamentary Elections Results: Biographies
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
New creation
Member of Parliament for Belfast Woodvale
1929 - 1949
Succeeded by
Robert Harcourt