John Cushnahan

Last updated

John Cushnahan
Leader of the Alliance Party
In office
1984–1987
Preceded by Oliver Napier
Succeeded by John Alderdice
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1989–2004
Constituency Munster
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
In office
1982–1986
Constituency North Down
Personal details
Born (1948-07-23) 23 July 1948 (age 70)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Political party Alliance
Fine Gael
Other political
affiliations
Fine Gael
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Teacher

John Walls Cushnahan (born 23 July 1948) is a former politician in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who served as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and then as a Member of the European Parliament for Fine Gael.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".

Republic of Ireland Country in Europe on the island of Ireland

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.8 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) is a liberal and centrist political party in Northern Ireland. It has long been Northern Ireland's fifth-largest party overall, with eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, but placed third in first preference votes in the most recent election, winning one of the three Northern Ireland seats in the European Parliament.

Cushnahan was educated at St Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School and Queen's University, Belfast and worked as a teacher before going into politics. He worked as General Secretary of the Alliance Party from 1974 until 1982 and was a member of Belfast City Council between 1977 and 1985.

Belfast City Council local government body for the city in Northern Ireland

Belfast City Council is the local authority with responsibility for part of the city of Belfast, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. The Council serves an estimated population of 333,871 (2011), the largest of any district council in Northern Ireland, while also being the fourth smallest by area. Belfast City Council is the primary council of the Belfast Metropolitan Area, a grouping of six district councils with commuter towns and overspill from Belfast, containing a total population of 579,276.

In 1982 he was elected to the Prior Assembly for North Down and two years later he became the new leader of Alliance, succeeding Oliver Napier. During his tenure as leader he sought to strengthen the party's links with the British Liberal Party. The Anglo Irish Agreement was signed during this period and Cushnahan faced the difficult position of giving Alliance support to it and facing the united opposition of the Unionist parties. However, when the Assembly was dissolved in 1986, Cushnahan found it financially difficult to remain in politics and so stood down as leader in 1987 to be succeeded by John Alderdice.

North Down (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

North Down is a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons. The current MP is Sylvia Hermon, first elected in the 2001 general election. Hermon represented the constituency on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party until 2010, subsequently sitting as an Independent.

Oliver Napier British politician

Sir Oliver Napier was the first leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. In 1974 he served as the first and only Legal Minister and head of the Office of Legal Reform in the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive set up by the Sunningdale Agreement.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Two years later Cushnahan made a surprise political comeback when he moved to the Republic of Ireland and stood as a Fine Gael candidate in the 1989 election to the European Parliament, winning a seat in the Munster constituency. He was an MEP for fifteen years before retiring at the 2004 elections. [1]

Fine Gael Centre-right liberal-conservative political party in the Republic of Ireland, one of two leading parties since 1933

Fine Gael is a liberal-conservative and pro-European political party in Ireland. Fine Gael is currently the governing and largest party in Ireland in terms of members of the Oireachtas and Irish members of European Parliament. The party has a membership of 21,000 and is the senior partner governing in a minority coalition with several independent politicians, with party leader Leo Varadkar serving as Taoiseach. Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as party leader on 2 June 2017 and as Taoiseach on 14 June; Kenny had been leader since 2002, and Taoiseach since 2011.

The 1989 European Parliament election in Ireland was the Irish component of the 1989 European Parliament election. The election was conducted under the single transferable vote.

European Parliament Directly elected parliament of the European Union

The European Parliament (EP) is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU) that is directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older. Together with the European Commission and the Council of the European Union it exercises the tripartite legislative function of the European Union. The Parliament is composed of 751 members (MEPs), intended to become 705 starting from the 2019–2024 legislature because of specific provisions adopted about Brexit, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world.

Cushnahan now serves as a board member of the peace and reconciliation charity Co-operation Ireland. [2]

Co-operation Ireland is a non-political and non-denominational charity dedicated to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Much of Co-operation Ireland's work focuses on bringing the two main communities in Northern Ireland together through programmes such as the Civic-Link programme.

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References

Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)
New assembly MPA for North Down
1982–1986
Assembly abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Cooper?
General Secretary of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
1974–1982
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Oliver Napier
Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
1984–1987
Succeeded by
John Alderdice