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Alban Maginness (born 9 July 1950) is a politician from Holywood, County Down, in Northern Ireland.[1] From 1998 to 2016, he was a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast North.

Alban Maginness
Alban Maginness.jpg
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast North
In office
25 June 1998 – 30 March 2016
Preceded byNew Creation
Succeeded byNichola Mallon
42nd Lord Mayor of Belfast
In office
Preceded byIan Adamson
Succeeded byDavid Alderdice
Personal details
Born (1950-07-09) 9 July 1950 (age 69)
Belfast, Northern Ireland[1]
Political partySDLP
Spouse(s)Carmel Maginness
Alma materQueen's University Belfast
University of Ulster

Early life and educationEdit

He completed his grammar education at St. Malachy's College, Belfast. He then attended the University of Ulster and Queen's University of Belfast before being called to the Bar in 1976.

Whilst at university he became involved in the non-violent protests organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.[2] Maginness participated in the famous civil rights march in Derry in 1972 at which British troops killed 14 unarmed civilians.[citation needed] This event, now termed Bloody Sunday, has gone down in Northern Ireland politics as one of the turning points in The Troubles that contributed to the development of the Provisional IRA.

Political careerEdit

Maginness became increasingly involved in politics and became a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party.[3] He stood unsuccessfully for the party in East Belfast in the 1975 Constitutional Convention election and North Belfast in the 1982 Assembly election.[4]

He has been an elected member of Belfast City Council since 1985 and in 1997 he became the first Catholic politician to hold the position of Lord Mayor of Belfast. In 1998 he was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast North.

He was Chair of the SDLP from 1984 to 1991.

In November 2008 Maginness had his trademark moustache shaved off for the BBC's Children in Need.[5]

Maginness was the SDLP candidate for the 2009 European Election.

Maginness accused the Secretary of State of interning dissident republican Marian Price without trial, saying "We do not support putting people away in prison because of intelligence or because of some political point of view and we are convinced that she has been detained without trial because of that by the secretary of state."[6]

Having served as an MLA for North Belfast from 1998, Maginness decided not to stand for election in 2016.[7] He was replaced by Nichola Mallon.


  1. ^ a b "Profile: Alban Maginness". BBC News. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Personal profile". Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  3. ^ Northern Nationalism (Lecture in UCD, 2 October 2000
  4. ^ Northern Ireland elections
  5. ^ "Maginness' hairy moment for charity". BBC News. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  6. ^ "BBC News - Marian Price being interned says SDLP's Alban Maginness". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  7. ^ "SDLP's Alban Maginness: I will not contest assembly election in May". Retrieved 12 January 2019.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Sean Farren
Chairman of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Succeeded by
Mark Durkan
Northern Ireland Forum
New forum Member for North Belfast
Forum dissolved
Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly MLA for Belfast North
Succeeded by
Nichola Mallon
Civic offices
Preceded by
Ian Adamson
Lord Mayor of Belfast
Succeeded by
David Alderdice