William Brian Maginess, QC (10 July 1901 – 16 April 1967), was a member of the Government of Northern Ireland, who was widely seen as a possible successor to The 1st Viscount Brookeborough as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

William Brian Maginness
Minister for Labour of
Northern Ireland
In office
2 August 1945 – 12 April 1949
Minister of Home Affairs for
Northern Ireland
In office
4 November 1949 – 26 October 1953
Minister of Finance for
Northern Ireland
In office
13 February 1953 – 20 April 1956
Attorney General of
Northern Ireland
In office
14 April 1956 – 20 March 1964
Member of the
Northern Ireland House of Commons
In office
1938–1964
ConstituencyIveagh
Personal details
Born10 July 1901
Hillsborough, Ireland
Died16 April 1967 (aged 65)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
NationalityBritish
Political partyUlster Unionist Party
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin
ProfessionBarrister

LifeEdit

He was born in 1901, the son of William George Maginess, a Lisburn solicitor, and his wife Mary Sarah Boyd.[1] He was educated at The Wallace High School and Trinity College Dublin[2] from where he graduated with a Law degree (LLD), and was called to the Northern Ireland bar in 1923.

Having served in the Royal Corps of Artillery during the Second World War he entered the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1938 when he won the Lisburn-centered seat of Iveagh.[citation needed] He entered the Cabinet of Basil Brooke in 1945 when he became Minister of Labour. His stints as the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance (de facto Deputy Prime Minister) left him favourite to succeed Brooke as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

In the early 1950s however, Maginess became a hate figure for the Orange Order when he banned marches through Catholic areas in Counties Down and Londonderry. Brooke demoted him to the non-Cabinet post of Attorney General in April 1956.[3]

While Attorney General, Maginess was party to the case of Attorney General for Northern Ireland v Gallagher [1961] 3 All Er 299, which remains authority in the law of Northern Ireland and England & Wales for the principle that Dutch courage is not a defence in criminal law. Counsel for Gallagher were future Attorney General and Lord Justice, Basil Kelly, and future Stormont MP and Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in England, Richard Ferguson.

In December 1959, Ian Paisley led a demonstration of Ulster Protestant Action members to Stormont Castle to protest at Lord Brookeborough's refusal to dismiss Maginess and Sir Clarence Graham. They had made speeches at an Ulster Young Unionist Council event supporting Catholic membership of the Ulster Unionist Party.[3]

Having been appointed a King's Counsel in 1946 he was appointed a County Court Judge in 1964 when he resigned from Parliament. He died three years later in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital at age 65. A plaque in his memorial is cited inside the Church of Ireland parish church in Hillsborough, where he is buried.[1]

SourcesEdit

  1. ^ a b Patterson, Henry. "Maginess, (William) Brian". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/64471. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "The Stormont Papers - Essay". ahds.ac.uk.
  3. ^ a b Bloomfield, Ken (2007). A Tragedy of Errors: The Government and Misgovernment of Northern Ireland. Liverpool University Press. p. 158. ISBN 9781846310645. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  • The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882–1973 : its development and organisation (1973), J F Harbinson
  • Paisley (1985), Moloney & Pollak
  • Brian Maginess and the Limits of Liberal Unionism, Irish Review, 25, 1999–2000, Henry Patterson
  • Ireland since 1939 (2006), Henry Patterson
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
John Charles Wilson
Member of Parliament for Iveagh
1938 – 1964
Succeeded by
Samuel Magowan
Political offices
Preceded by
New creation
Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture
1941-1943
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
New creation
Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Public Security
1941-1943
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Sir Wilson Hungerford
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce and Production
1943–1945
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
William Grant
Minister of Labour
1945 – 49
Succeeded by
Harry Midgley
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1946
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock
Preceded by
Roland Nugent
Minister of Commerce and Production
1949
Succeeded by
William McCleery
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1949 – 53
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
John Maynard Sinclair
Minister of Finance
1953 – 56
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1956 – 64
Succeeded by
Edward Warburton Jones