Alasdair McDonnell

Alasdair McDonnell

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Alasdair McDonnell

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Alasdair McDonnell (born 1 September 1949) is an Irish politician, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and both a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and a Member of the Legislative Assembly for South Belfast.

Early life

McDonnell was born in Cushendall, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. A family doctor in Belfast for over thirty years, Alasdair McDonnell grew up as the eldest child in a large farming family in Glenariff, near Cushendall in the Glens of Antrim, and attended medical school at University College Dublin, graduating in 1974.

Political career

McDonnell's first involvement with politics came when he joined the National Democrats and stood as the party candidate in the 1970 election in North Antrim, losing to Ian Paisley.

McDonnell first won election to Belfast City Council in 1977, representing Belfast 'Area A' which included the Short Strand and Upper Ormeau areas. He lost his council seat in a surprise result in 1981 but returned in 1985 and served as the first Catholic Deputy Mayor of Belfast in 1995-1996.

He first stood for the Westminster constituency of South Belfast in the 1979 general election and subsequently contested the constituency at each subsequent general election, though not in the 1986 by-election (caused by the resignation of Unionist MPs in protest at the Anglo Irish Agreement).

He was also elected from the constituency to the Northern Ireland Peace Forum in...
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