Sean Farren

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Sean Farren
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Antrim North
In office
25 June 1998 – 7 March 2007
Preceded by New Creation
Succeeded by Declan O'Loan
Personal details
Born (1939-09-06) 6 September 1939 (age 77)
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party SDLP
Alma mater University College Dublin
University of Essex
University of Ulster
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sean Nial Farren (born 6 September 1939) is an Irish politician and academic in Northern Ireland.

Farren studied at the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin (BA), University of Essex (MA) and the University of Ulster (PhD). He worked as a teacher in Dublin, Switzerland and Sierra Leone before becoming a lecturer at the University of Ulster.

Farren contested the Westminster seat of North Antrim as a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) at the 1979 general election, and stood at each subsequent general election until 2004.

In 1982, Farren was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in North Antrim. In line with SDLP policy, he instead sat on the New Ireland Forum (1993–4).

Farren was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996, again for North Antrim, and held this seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998 and 2003, before standing down at the 2007 election.

Since 2008 he has been a Visiting Professor in the School of Education at the Ulster University. He has also been involved in a number of projects aimed at strengthening democratic institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, West and East Africa.

He is currently a member of the Governing Authority of Dublin City University, a Trustee of Concern Worldwide (UK), a member of the Standing Committee of the Development Studies Association of Ireland (DSAI) and a committee member of the Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership (SLIP).

He is married to Patricia Clarke. They have four children. He and Patricia live in Portstewart, County Londonderry.

He has authored, co-authored or edited four books: The Politics of Irish Education (1995), SDLP – the Struggle for Agreement in Northern Ireland (2010), with Robert Mulvihill, Paths to a Settlement in Northern Ireland (2000), and with Denis Haughey, John Hume: Irish Peacemaker (2015). He has also written many book chapters, peer reviewed and other articles.

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bríd Rodgers
Chairperson of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Succeeded by
Alban Maginness
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for Antrim North
Succeeded by
Declan O'Loan
Political offices
Preceded by
Newly created office
Minister of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment
Succeeded by
Office suspended
Preceded by
Office suspended
Minister of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment[1]
Succeeded by
Carmel Hanna
Preceded by
Mark Durkan
Minister of Finance and Personnel
Succeeded by
Office suspended


  1. ^ Title changed to Minister for Employment and Learning during tenure.