Martina Anderson

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Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson MEP, Strasbourg - Diliff.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
12 June 2012
Preceded byBairbre de Brún
Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
In office
16 May 2011 – 11 June 2012
Serving with Jonathan Bell
Preceded byGerry Kelly
Succeeded byJennifer McCann
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Foyle
In office
7 March 2007 – 11 June 2012
Preceded byMitchel McLaughlin
Succeeded byMaeve McLaughlin
Personal details
Born (1962-04-16) 16 April 1962 (age 57)[1]
Derry, Northern Ireland
Political partySinn Féin
Spouse(s)Paul Kavanagh

Martina Anderson (born 16 April 1962) is an Irish[2] politician from Northern Ireland who is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing Northern Ireland for Sinn Féin. She became involved in the Irish republican movement in the late 1970s and is a former volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). In June 1986, she was convicted of conspiring to cause explosions in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison.[3] She was released 13 years later as a condition of the Good Friday Agreement[3][4] and subsequently became involved in politics for Sinn Féin. She was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2012, representing Foyle. She served in the Northern Ireland Executive as a Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, she became a Member of the European Parliament, and she was reelected in 2014 and in 2019.


Anderson was born in the Bogside in Derry, Northern Ireland, into a large family with a tradition of Irish republicanism.[citation needed] Her father was a Protestant.[5] She has six sisters and three brothers, one of whom, Peter, is a Sinn Féin councillor.[citation needed]

Anderson was arrested aged 18 leaving a furniture store in Derry and charged with possession of a firearm and causing an explosion. She was released on bail after spending two months in Armagh Women's Prison and fled across the border to Buncrana in County Donegal.[3] Anderson was again arrested on 24 June 1985 at a flat in Glasgow with four other IRA members including Brighton bomber Patrick Magee. On 11 June 1986, all five were convicted of conspiring to cause explosions in England, although Magee was the only person convicted in relation to the Brighton hotel bombing.[6][7]

In 1989, Anderson married fellow prisoner and IRA member Paul Kavanagh at Full Sutton Prison. By 1993, she was one of just two female category A prisoners in England, the other being fellow republican Ella O'Dwyer.[8] In 1994, she was transferred from Durham Prison in England to Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland.[citation needed] On 10 November 1998, Anderson was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In 2007, Anderson was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly as a Sinn Féin member for Foyle, along with Raymond McCartney.[9]

In May 2007, Anderson became one of the first Sinn Féin members to join the Northern Ireland Policing Board.[10]

In December 2007, Anderson said she was concerned that large numbers of migrant workers from mainly Catholic countries were being classed as 'Catholic/nationalist' in monitoring forms, rather than 'other'.[11] She said "Given that the entire basis of the legislation around monitoring was put in place to identify imbalances in the workforce between the local Catholic/nationalist and Protestant/unionist communities it is therefore vital that given the addition of migrant workers in the workforce, that they should clearly be categorised as having a community background of 'other'."[11] Employment monitoring by the Equality Commission records solely religion, and not political affiliation.[12]

She was selected by Sinn Féin to fight the Foyle constituency at the 2010 Westminster General Election.[13] She lost to the SDLP incumbent, Mark Durkan, by 5,000 votes (11% of the vote). In May 2012 it was announced that she would be replacing Bairbre de Brún, as MEP for Northern Ireland.[14] Anderson retained her MEP seat in the 2014 election, topping the poll with 159,813 first-preference votes.[15]

In the 2019 European Parliament elections, Anderson was returned on the fifth ballot, after Dianne Dodds of the DUP and Naomi Long of Alliance.


  1. ^ "MLA Details: Ms Martina Anderson". Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Sinn Fein: Anderson gets Irish diplomatic passport". Derry Journal. 24 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Beyond the Wire". Ireland's Own. 1996. Archived from the original on 9 December 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  4. ^ "Convicted IRA Bomber Cancels Brussels Easter Uprising Event". Patrika TV. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson defends her IRA past". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  6. ^ Taylor, Peter (2001). Brits. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 157–159. ISBN 0-7475-5806-X.
  7. ^ Gareth Parry (10 June 1986). "Patrick Magee convicted of IRA terrorist attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  8. ^ Sharrock, David, "Fear and folly in She-Wing" The Guardian; 29 December 1993
  9. ^ "Northern Ireland election". BBC. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  10. ^ "Policing Board – Martina Anderson MLA". NI Policing Board. 31 May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  11. ^ a b "Sinn Fein and DUP in job figures row - Belfast Newsletter". 18 December 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  12. ^ "ECNI - Equality Commission, Northern Ireland". 30 August 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Anderson ready to fight next election". Derry Journal. 31 January 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Sinn Fein reshuffle as Martina Anderson takes on MEP role". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  15. ^ "2014 European Election, Northern Ireland First Preference Votes". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
European Parliament
Preceded by
Bairbre de Brún
MEP for Northern Ireland
2012 – present
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Mitchel McLaughlin
MLA for Foyle
Succeeded by
Maeve McLaughlin
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerry Kelly
Junior Minister
Succeeded by
Jennifer McCann