William Lowry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For those of a similar name, see William Lowry House, William Lowrie, and William Lowrey.

William Lowry PC(NI) KC (19 March 1884–14 December 1949) was an Irish barrister, judge, Ulster Unionist Party Member of Parliament, and Attorney General for Northern Ireland


Born in Limavady, he was educated at Foyle College, Derry, and Queen's University Belfast. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1907 and was appointed as King's Counsel in 1926. In 1939, he was elected to the Northern Ireland House of Commons as a Unionist member for Londonderry, City, which he represented until 1947. Conor Cruise O'Brien described him as a "unionist of a rather fiercer description."[1] He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs from 1940–1943 and Minister of Home Affairs from 1943-1944. In February 1944, Lowry allegedly commentated while Parliament was in session that a local Orange Order Meeting Hall, which had been used by Catholics of the US Army after he had arranged it, would have to be fumigated. His remarks, recorded in the minutes of the day,[2] attracted immediate criticism from fellow ministers and Lowry was forced to write an apology to Bishop Farren of Derry two days later, though he was adamant that he had misunderstood the situation.[1][3] O'Brien, however, maintained that Lowry's comments were meant as an ironic and sarcastic response to anti-Catholic extremists on the benches who had objected to the use of the Orange Hall, and he maintained a respect for Lowry throughout his life.[1]

Lowry later went on to serve as Attorney General for Northern Ireland from 1944-1947. He resigned from the Government and from Parliament upon appointment as a Judge of the High Court of Northern Ireland in 1947,[4] as which he served until retiring shortly before his death. He was appointed to the Privy Council for Northern Ireland in 1943, entitling him to be called "The Right Honourable". His son, Lord Lowry was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.


  1. ^ a b c O'Brien, C. C. Memoir: My Life and times, (Dublin, 1998), p. 84-85.
  2. ^ The Parliamentary Debates (Official Report) in the 7th Sessions of the 5th Parliament of Northern Ireland, Vol. XXVII. Excerpt's 2 Feb 1944: Debate on an Address in response to the King's Speech, and 8 Feb 1944: Interjection by a Minister [Raising a question at the end of a session].
  3. ^ Rafferty, Catholicism in Ulster 1603-1983: An Interpretive History (Dublin, 1994), p. 242-243.
  4. ^ LOWRY, Rt Hon. William’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 29 Dec 2011


Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Edward Sullivan Murphy
Member of Parliament for Londonderry, City
1939 - 1947
Succeeded by
James Godfrey MacManaway
Political offices
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Wilson Hungerford
Preceded by
Richard Dawson Bates
Minister of Home Affairs
1943 - 1944
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock
Preceded by
John MacDermott
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1944 - 1947
Succeeded by
Lancelot Curran