Sean Lynch (politician)

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Sean Lynch
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Fermanagh & South Tyrone
Assumed office
7 May 2011
Preceded by Gerry McHugh
Councillor on Fermanagh District Council
In office
10 May 2011 – 11 September 2011
Preceded by Pat Cox[1]
Succeeded by Tommy Maguire[2]
Constituency Enniskillen Electoral Area
Personal details
Born (1954-01-11) 11 January 1954 (age 61)
Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Profession Politician
Known for Officer Commanding Provisional IRA prisoners in Long Kesh
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official Website

Seán Lynch MLA (Irish: Seán Ó Loingsigh; born 11 January 1954) is an Irish republican Sinn Féin politician and a current MLA for the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Lynch was a former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader in the Maze Prison (known as Long Kesh by Irish republicans).[3] Lynch previously served as Chairman of Sinn Féin in Fermanagh and as a senior member of the district policing partnership in the county.[4] Lynch previously stood for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2007 but was unsuccessful.[5][6][7][8][9] Lynch was a councillor on Fermanagh District Council prior to his election to the Northern Ireland Assembly.


Born in 1954 into a farming family in rural Co. Fermanagh, Seán Lynch is the eldest of 12 children, raised in Baltreagh, outside Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. He is a Roman Catholic.[10] Lynch currently lives in Lisnaskea. His sisters include Ruth Lynch, a Fermanagh District Council Sinn Féin councillor, and Mary Lynch, author of The Long Road Home.[11][12][13]

Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2007 and 2011[edit]

Lynch stood as a candidate in the 2007 Assembly Election. Lynch polled 4,704 votes and finished runner up. His running mates Michelle Gildernew and Gerry McHugh both obtained seats in the same election. Lynch was selected by Sinn Féin in Fermanagh and South Tyrone to stand again as a candidate in the 2011 Assembly Election on 5 May 2011. Lynch was elected on 7 May 2011. He was also elected to Fermanagh District Council on May 10, 2011.[14][15] In Line with Sinn Féin policy Lynch resigned from his council seat to allow for a party member to take his place on the council. In September 2011 Tommy Maguire was co-opted onto Fermanagh District Council[16][17]

Provisional IRA membership[edit]

In April 1986 Lynch was seriously wounded and fellow IRA member Séamus McElwaine was shot dead when the SAS opened fire on them as they prepared to ambush a passing army patrol with a huge land mine the Lisnaskea to Rosslea road. Lynch was shot by the SAS and very seriously wounded. He was then arrested and after four months in Musgrave Park Hospital Military Wing, Lynch was transferred to Crumlin Road Jail. In December of the same year he was sentenced at a Diplock Court to 25 years for possession of explosives and a rifle and transferred to the Maze Prison.[18][19] During his time spent there he was promoted to the rank Officer Commanding of Republican prisoners in the prison.[20] He was released in October 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, having served 12 years of his 25-year sentence.[21]

Legal Case against Northern Ireland Office[edit]

While still recovering from his injuries, Lynch claimed to have been forcibly removed by the riot squad team from one H-Block to another. He then pursued legal action against the Northern Ireland Office and won a financial settlement.[22]

Seamus McElwaine Inquest[edit]

In January 1993 an inquest jury returned a verdict that McElwaine had been unlawfully killed. The jury ruled the SAS soldiers had opened fire without giving Séamus McElwaine a chance to surrender, and that he was actually shot dead five minutes after being wounded. The Director of Public Prosecutions requested a full report on the inquest from the RUC, but nobody has been prosecuted for McElwaine's death.[23][24][25]

Political career following prison release[edit]

Since his release from prison Lynch has worked as a senior member for Sinn Féin and was on the officer board of what was then the Sinn Féin Six-County Cúige and subsequently as a Six-County representative on the party’s ruling Ard Chomhairle.[26] Lynch was director of elections for Michelle Gildernew when she won the Westminster seat of Fermanagh and South Tyrone for the party in 2005.[27] Lynch also sits on Fermanagh District Policing Partnership.

In an interview given to County Fermanagh based newspaper the Fermanagh Herald Lynch explained what he believed politics could deliver for the future.

"We are in a transitional period, and in my opinion we are moving towards an All-Ireland. The Six-County statelet is a failed entity. I think some Unionists are coming to the same conclusion. Britain is taking less of a role. I don't think they have any key strategic, economic or other interests in this part of Ireland."


See also[edit]


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  9. ^ "BBC NEWS, Election 2007, Fermanagh & South Tyrone". BBC News. 
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  23. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Jan 1993". House of Commons. 18 January 1993. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  24. ^ "United Kingdom/Northern Ireland Human Rights, 1993". U.S. Department of State. 31 January 1994. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  25. ^ "Amnesty International Report 1994 - United Kingdom". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
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Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Gerry McHugh
MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone