William Fitzsimmons (politician)

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William Kennedy Fitzsimmons (31 January 1909 – 21 February 1992) was a Unionist politician in Northern Ireland.

Born in Belfast, Fitzsimmons studied at Skegoneill National School and Belfast Technical College. He became a domestic engineer, and in 1948 was appointed as a Belfast Water Commissioner, serving as chairman of the Commissioners in 1954–55. In 1951, he became a justice of the peace.[1]

Fitzsimmons was also an active member of the Ulster Unionist Party and was the President of Duncairn Unionist Association. He was elected to the Parliament of Northern Ireland at a by-election in 1956, representing Belfast Duncairn. In 1961, he was made Assistant Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, an assistant whip position. He also became Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce. He was then rotated through a series of Parliamentary Secretary positions, serving with the Ministry of Home Affairs from 1963 to 1964, the Ministry of Health and Local Government from 1964 to 1966 and also the Ministry of Development for a period in 1965.[1]

In April 1965, Fitzsimmons was finally appointed to a Cabinet position, becoming Minister of Education. He moved to become Minister of Development in 1966, back to Education in 1968 and finally served as Minister of Health and Social Services from 1969 until the Parliament was prorouged in 1972.[1]

In 1968, Fitzsimmons' daughter married a Roman Catholic. As a result, he resigned from the Orange Order.[2] At the 1969, former independent Unionist Member of Parliament Norman Porter stood against Fitzsimmons as a candidate whose opposition to Catholicism was in no doubt, but Fitzsimmons held his seat.[3]

At the Darlington Conference of 1973, Fitzsimmons served on the small Unionist team. Later in the year, he decided not to stand in the Northern Ireland Assembly election.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Biographies of Members of the Northern Ireland House of Commons
  2. ^ William Brown, An Army with Banners
  3. ^ Northern Ireland Parliamentary Election Results: Boroughs: Belfast
  4. ^ Richard Deutsch and Vivien Magowan, Northern Ireland, 1968–73
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
George Hanna
Member of Parliament for Belfast Duncairn
1956–1973
Parliament abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
William James Morgan
Unionist Assistant Whip
1961–1963
Succeeded by
James Chichester-Clark
Political offices
Preceded by
William James Morgan
Assistant Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance
1961–1963
Succeeded by
James Chichester-Clark
Vacant
Title last held by
]Terence O'Neill
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs
1963–1964
Vacant
Title next held by
Robert Porter
Preceded by
Herbert Kirk
Minister of Education
1965–1966
Succeeded by
William Long
Preceded by
William Craig
Minister of Development
1966–1968
Succeeded by
Ivan Neill
Preceded by
William Long
Minister of Education
1968–1969
Succeeded by
Phelim O'Neill
Preceded by
Robert Porter
Minister of Health and Social Services
1969–1972
Position abolished