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John Taylor, Baron Kilclooney

John David Taylor, Baron Kilclooney, PC (NI) (born 24 December 1937), is a former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Northern Irish MP and a life peer. He was born in Armagh in Northern Ireland.[1] He was deputy leader of the UUP from 1995 to 2001, and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Lord Kilclooney

Official portrait of Lord Kilclooney crop 2.jpg
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
17 July 2001
Life peerage
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Strangford
In office
25 June 1998 – 7 March 2007
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byMichelle McIlveen
Member of Parliament
for Strangford
In office
9 June 1983 – 14 May 2001
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byIris Robinson
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
In office
10 June 1979 – 15 June 1989
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byJim Nicholson
Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
for South Tyrone
In office
25 November 1965 – 30 March 1972
Preceded byWilliam Frederick McCoy
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1937-12-24) 24 December 1937 (age 81)
Armagh, Northern Ireland
Political partyCrossbench
(formerly) Ulster Unionist Party
Spouse(s)Mary Todd
Alma materThe Queen's University of Belfast

Career and familyEdit

Taylor was educated at The Royal School, Armagh, and The Queen's University of Belfast (BSc). Lord Kilclooney owns Alpha Newspapers which operates local newspaper titles in Northern Ireland and the Republic.[2] He is a member of the Farmers Club in London, and the County Club in Armagh City.

Lord Kilclooney's political career began as MP for South Tyrone in the Northern Irish House of Commons between 1970 and 1972, and he served in the Government of Northern Ireland as Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs.[3]

On 25 February 1972, he survived an assassination attempt in Armagh by the Official Irish Republican Army.[4] Two men, including Joe McCann (who was himself shot dead some months afterwards whilst evading arrest), raked his car with bullets, hitting Taylor five times in the neck and head.[5] Taylor survived, but needed extensive reconstructive surgery on his jaw. Despite this, Taylor soon re-entered politics. He represented Fermanagh & South Tyrone in the short-lived Northern Ireland Assembly elected in 1973 and dissolved in 1974, following the collapse of the power-sharing Executive.[6]

He became a Member of the European Parliament for Northern Ireland in 1979, remaining an MEP until 1989.[7] On 20 January 1987,[8] Taylor left the European Democrats, with whom the Conservatives sat, to join the controversial European Right group.[9]

He was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982 for North Down.[10] He then became MP for Strangford in 1983, until 2001.[11] He was a member of Castlereagh Borough Council from 1993–1997. In February 1989 he joined the "hard right" Conservative Monday Club and appears on the list of their speakers at the Annual Conference of its Young Members' Group at the United Oxford & Cambridge Club in Pall Mall, on 18 November 1989, when he spoke on 'The Union and Northern Ireland'.[citation needed]

Following the 2001 general election, on 17 July he was created a life peer as Baron Kilclooney, of Armagh in the County of Armagh,[12] sitting as a crossbencher. He sat on the Northern Ireland Policing Board from 4 November 2001 until 31 March 2006.[13] He continued to sit as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly until his retirement prior to the elections in March 2007. He remains the only active politician to have participated in all levels of government in Northern Ireland, from local council, the Parliament of Northern Ireland, Westminster, Europe, all previous failed Assemblies and Conventions and the current incarnation of the Assembly.[citation needed]

In January 2012, Taylor wrote to The Scotsman newspaper asserting that Scotland should be subject to partition, depending on the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum.[14] In 2019, Taylor become the subject of ridicule after he accused Alliance council election candidate Jackie Coade of being an Irish nationalist because her Twitter name ends with 'ie'.[15]

Historian & writer Tim Pat Coogan described Taylor as a "particulary venomous Unionist apologist", who he charged as making a "hold-me-back, let-me-at-them" style speech in the European Parliament, saying if there was going to be Loyalist retaliation for the Warrenpoint ambush & Lord Mountbatten killing by the Provisional IRA in August 1979 that he hoped the retaliation would be directed at the South of Ireland. In his speech he said... "If the leadership of the loyalist paramilitaries find it absolutely impossible to refrain from renewed action on the ground, then in no way can that action occur on Ulster soil. It should be directed to targets within the Republic of Ireland, from which most of the serious I.R.A. attacks now originate and within which the Provisional I.R.A. is facilitated by a weak‐kneed Government."”[16] The statement caused a storm of protest. The Irish Minister for Justice called it “plain incitement to further mass murder.” [17]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Mary Todd in 1970 and has six children.


Coat of arms of John Taylor, Baron Kilclooney
A Coronet of a Baron
A Tailor Bird Or grasping a Bush eradicated Azure enflamed Or
Azure issuing in base three Representations of the Scrabo Tower Argent with windows framed and Pinnacles Or each ensigned by a Viking Helm Argent horned Or
On either side an Irish Elk Gules unguled and attired Or resting the exterior forehoof upon an Ulster Gatepost Argent
A While Fer Wark An A While Fer Spoartin

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gordon Gillespie (24 September 2009). The A to Z of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Scarecrow Press. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7045-1.
  2. ^ Neill, Maurice (4 December 2003). "Taylor buys up four newspapers in Republic". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Biography of John Kilclooney". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  4. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the conflict 1972". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ Fleming, Joanne (1 August 2016). "It's outrageous ex-soldier may be prosecuted over shooting of IRA man who tried to kill me, declares peer". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  6. ^ Details of assassination attempt,; accessed 24 October 2015.
  7. ^ Sharrock, David (30 January 2001). "Unionists' John Taylor to stand down as an MP". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  8. ^ "A Chronology of the Conflict – 1987". Conflict Archive on the Internet. University of Ulster. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  9. ^ "John Taylor: Profile". BBC News. 30 January 2001.
  10. ^ Gordon Gillespie (16 March 2017). Historical Dictionary of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 290–. ISBN 978-1-4422-6305-5.
  11. ^ "Northern Ireland Elections". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  12. ^ "No. 56281". The London Gazette. 20 July 2001. p. 8601.
  13. ^ "Previous Policing Board Members". 14 October 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Partition could come north of Border". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Lord Kilclooney asks Alliance's Jackie Coade why Twitter name ends with 'ie' instead of 'uk'".
  16. ^ "Retaliatory Raids by Ulster Protestants Feared as I.R.A. Presses Attacks". The New York Times. 2 September 1979.
  17. ^ Tim Pat Coogan - The I.R.A. Fully Revised & Updated pp.448

External linksEdit

Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
W.F. McCoy
Member of Parliament for South Tyrone
Parliament abolished
Northern Ireland Assembly (1973)
New assembly Assembly Member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone
Assembly abolished
Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention
New convention Member for North Down
Convention dissolved
European Parliament
New constituency MEP for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Jim Nicholson
Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)
New assembly MPA for North Down
Assembly abolished
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Strangford
Succeeded by
Iris Robinson
Northern Ireland Forum
New forum Member for Strangford
Forum dissolved
Northern Ireland Assembly
New assembly MLA for Strangford
Succeeded by
Michelle McIlveen
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Porter
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs
Office abolished
New office Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs
Office abolished
Party political offices
Office abolished
Title last held by
Harold McCusker
Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Succeeded by
Sir Reg Empey