The Info List - Michelle Gildernew

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Michelle Gildernew MP (born 28 March 1970) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician from County Tyrone. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fermanagh and South Tyrone since June 2017. Gildernew is a former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Northern Ireland Executive. She was the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 2001 to 2015, and was a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLA) for the Assembly constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone from June 1998 to July 2012.[1] She was re-elected to the Assembly in 2016 and 2017; and in 2017 reclaimed her seat in Parliament from Tom Elliott of the Ulster Unionist Party. Gildernew is Sinn Féin's health spokesperson and has been a member of the party's Ard Chomhairle (National Executive). In the 2007–11 Assembly, she served as Vice Chair of the Committee of Social Development and was a member of the Committee of the Centre as well as of other statutory and ad-hoc committees.[2]


1 Education and background 2 Political career

2.1 Election to Westminster 2.2 Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development 2.3 2011 Irish presidential election 2.4 Support for Seán Quinn

3 Personal life 4 References

Education and background[edit] Born in Dungannon, Gildernew attended St Catherine's College Armagh and later the University of Ulster, Coleraine. After graduating from university, she travelled extensively in Europe, the United States and Australia, where she worked for a year. Gildernew is one of ten siblings from an Irish republican family based at the "Gildernew farm complex" (as described on Ordnance Survey maps) in County Tyrone.[2] During the 1960s, the family were leading figures in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and took part in a 1968 protest in Caledon, County Tyrone over housing discrimination.[3] Political career[edit] On returning to Northern Ireland in 1996, Gildernew was the second-placed but unsuccessful candidate for Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Forum elections for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.[4] The following year, she was appointed Sinn Féin representative to London and was part of the first Sinn Féin delegation to visit Downing Street. In the 1998 Assembly elections, she was elected MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, retaining the seat in the 2003 and 2007 elections.[3] Gildernew has campaigned on women's and mothers' rights.[5] Election to Westminster[edit] In the 2001 UK general election, Gildernew was elected to Parliament as Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, defeating the Ulster Unionist candidate James Cooper by 53 votes. Like all Sinn Féin MPs, she followed a policy of abstentionism and never took her seat in Westminster in the three times she was elected at the polls. In the 2005 election, she was re-elected and increased her majority to 4,582 votes. In the 2010 election, the Democratic Unionists (DUP), Ulster Conservatives and Unionists and Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) all chose not to field candidates and she held her seat by 4 votes against independent Unionist Rodney Connor.[6] On Monday, 20 October 2014, Sinn Féin announced that Gildernew would be the party's candidate in the 2015 Westminster election.[7] She lost the seat by 530 votes to Ulster Unionist Party candidate Tom Elliott. According to the Times Guide to the House of Commons, Gildernew was popular across the sectarian divide in one of Northern Ireland's most polarised constituencies.[8] Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development[edit] During her time as Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Gildernew dealt with problems such as an outbreak of bluetongue disease. She also increased cross-border co-operation with the Republic of Ireland on farming issues.[9] 2011 Irish presidential election[edit] In September 2011, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Sinn Féin was considering Gildernew as their candidate for the that year's Irish presidential election.[10] In the event, Martin McGuinness stood for Sinn Féin. Support for Seán Quinn[edit] In a July 2012 interview for The Impartial Reporter, Gildernew defended embattled businessman Seán Quinn, saying that "[h]e has been treated disgracefully by the Irish Government. Had they not tried to strip him of all his assets, including his home, deny him the ability to function in business, and routinely try to humiliate him I believe he would have paid back every penny he owed to the Irish taxpayer".[11] Quinn, the former head of the privately owned QUINN group (now Aventas), was declared bankrupt in January 2012.[12] (With loans worth around €1.2 billion from the Anglo-Irish Bank, the QUINN group was exposed by its collapse and, on 30 March 2010, the High Court appointed joint provisional administrators to Quinn Insurance Ltd.[13]) Sinn Féin distanced themselves from Gildernew's comments made with Mary Lou McDonald that the Quinns had engaged in illegal business practices.[14] Personal life[edit] Gildernew is married to Jimmy Taggart and is the mother of two boys, Emmet and Eunan, and one girl, Aoise.[15] References[edit]

^ Whyte, Nicholas. "Elections: Northern Ireland ELECTIONS: Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1998". ark.ac.uk. ARK. Retrieved 9 August 2010.  ^ a b "Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA". Fermanaghsouthtyronesf.com. Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin. Retrieved 9 August 2010.  ^ a b "Profile of Minister Michelle Gildernew". dardni.gov.uk. Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland. 28 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.  ^ "Elections: Northern Ireland ELECTIONS: Candidates in Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1996". ark.ac.uk. ARK. Retrieved 1 April 2011.  ^ "Candidate: Michelle Gildernew". U.tv. UTV. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2016.  ^ "Election 2010 Fermanagh and South Tyrone". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2010.  ^ "Michelle Gildernew MP selected as Fermanagh South Tyrone Westminster candidate". Fermanaghsouthtyronesf.com. Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2016.  ^ Dale, Iain (2010). The Times Guide to the House of Commons. London: Times Books. ISBN 9780007351589.  ^ "Consultations". dardni.gov.uk. Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.  ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (9 November 2016). "Sinn Fein tipped to run Gildernew for Irish president". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2016.  ^ Edwards, Rodney (26 July 2012). "Sean Quinn: We are 'devastated' over son's jailing". The Impartial Reporter. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.  ^ Keena, Colm (11 January 2012). "Quinn bankruptcy case set for Dublin court on Monday". Irish Times. Retrieved 11 January 2012.  ^ Sheehan, Maeve (4 April 2010). "Industry captain's ill-fated voyage on the sinking ship". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media PLC [INM]. Retrieved 22 July 2012.  ^ "Sinn Féin 'distances itself' from Sean Quinn". BBC News. 1 August 2012.  ^ "Interview : Michelle Gildernew, the first minister in Ireland to give birth while in office". An Phoblacht. 27 November 2008. 

Northern Ireland Assembly

New assembly MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1998–2012 Succeeded by Bronwyn McGahan

Preceded by Bronwyn McGahan MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone 2016–2017 Succeeded by Colm Gildernew

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by Ken Maginnis Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone 2001–2015 Succeeded by Tom Elliott

Preceded by Tom Elliott Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone 2017–present Incumbent

Political offices

Vacant Office suspended Title last held by Bríd Rodgers Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development 2007–2011 Succeeded by Michelle O'Neill

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Parliamentarians of Northern Ireland

UK Parliament

Mickey Brady (SF, Newry & Armagh) Gregory Campbell (DUP, East Londonderry) Nigel Dodds (DUP, Belfast North) Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP, Lagan Valley) Michelle Gildernew (SF, Fermanagh & South Tyrone ) Paul Girvan (DUP, South Antrim) Chris Hazzard (SF, South Down) Sylvia Hermon (Ind, North Down) Paul Maskey (SF, Belfast West) Elisha McCallion (SF, Foyle) Barry McElduff (SF, West Tyrone) Francie Molloy (SF, Mid Ulster) Ian Paisley Jr. (DUP, North Antrim) Emma Little-Pengelly (DUP, Belfast South) Gavin Robinson (DUP, Belfast East) Jim Shannon (DUP, Strangford) David Simpson (DUP, Upper Bann) Sammy Wilson (DUP, East Antrim)

European Parliament

Martina Anderson (SF) Diane Dodds (DUP) Jim Nicholson (UUP)

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Sinn Féin


History of Sinn Féin


Armalite and ballot box strategy Clann na hÉireann Cumann na nGaedheal (1900) Comhairle na dTeachtaí Éire Nua Election results Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Gaelic American German Plot Provisional IRA Sinn Féin Manifesto 1918 Sinn Féin MPs Sinn Féin (newspaper) Sinn Féin Printing & Publishing Company Republican News Republican Sinn Féin United Irishman Willie O'Dea affidavit incident Workers' Party of Ireland 32 County Sovereignty Movement



Edward Martyn (1905–08) John Sweetman (1908–11) Arthur Griffith (1911–17) Éamon de Valera (1917–26) John J. O'Kelly (Sceilg) (1926–31) Brian O'Higgins (1931–33) Michael O'Flanagan (1933–35) Cathal Ó Murchadha (1935–37) Margaret Buckley (1937–50) Paddy McLogan (1950–52) Tomás Ó Dubhghaill (1952–54) Paddy McLogan (1954–62) Tomás Mac Giolla (1962–70) Ruairí Ó Brádaigh (1970–83) Gerry Adams (1983–2018) Mary Lou McDonald (2018–present)

Vice presidents

John Sweetman (1905–07) Arthur Griffith (1905–08; 1917–22) Bulmer Hobson (1907–10) Jennie Wyse Power (1911–) Thomas Kelly (1911–) Fr. Michael O'Flanagan (1917–23) P. J. Ruttledge (1923–26) Mary MacSwiney John Madden John J. O'Kelly (1931-33) Margaret Buckley (1933–35; 1952–60) Liam Raul (1933-37) Tom Maguire (1935-37) Seamus Mitchell Padraig de Paor Criostóir O'Neill Michael Traynor (1950–54; 1962) Tomás Ó Dubhghaill (1950–52; 1954–62) Tony Magan (1960–62) Rory O'Driscoll (1962–63) Larry Grogan (1962–69; 1970–71) Seán Caughey (1963–65) Joe Clarke (1966–72) Cathal Goulding (1969–70) Dáithí Ó Conaill (1971–78; 1978–83) Máire Drumm (1972–76) Joe Cahill (1976–78) Gerry Adams (1978–83) Phil Flynn (1983–85) John Joe McGirl (1985–88) Pat Doherty (1988–2009) Mary Lou McDonald (2009–2018) Michelle O'Neill (2018–present)

Seanad leaders

Pearse Doherty (2007–10) David Cullinane (2011–16) Rose Conway-Walsh (2016–)

Northern Ireland leaders

Gerry Adams (1998–2007) Martin McGuinness (2007–17) Michelle O'Neill (2017–)


Seán MacManus (1984–90) Tom Hartley (1990–96) Mitchel McLaughlin (1996–2005) Mary Lou McDonald (2005–09) Declan Kearney (2009–)

General secretaries

Joe Cahill Cathleen Knowles Tom Hartley (1984–86) Joe Reilly (1986–88) Lucilita Bhreatnach (1988–2003) Mitchel McLaughlin (2003–07) Rita O'Hare (2007–09) Dawn Doyle (2009–)

Directors of publicity

Seán Ó Brádaigh (1960–79) Danny Morrison (1979–90) Rita O'Hare (1990–98) Dawn Doyle (1998–2008) Rosaleen Doherty (2008–)

Party structures

Leader of Sinn Féin Ardfheis Sinn Féin Front Bench Sinn Féin Republican Youth An Phoblacht Friends of Sinn Féin

Presidential candidates

Martin McGuinness (2011)

Elected representatives

Dáil Éireann

Gerry Adams John Brady Pat Buckley Seán Crowe David Cullinane Pearse Doherty Dessie Ellis Martin Ferris Kathleen Funchion Martin Kenny Mary Lou McDonald Denise Mitchell Imelda Munster Carol Nolan Jonathan O'Brien Eoin Ó Broin Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Louise O'Reilly Aengus Ó Snodaigh Maurice Quinlivan Brian Stanley Peadar Tóibín

Seanad Éireann

Rose Conway-Walsh Máire Devine Paul Gavan Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Niall Ó Donnghaile Fintan Warfield

European Parliament

Martina Anderson Lynn Boylan Matt Carthy Liadh Ní Riada

Northern Ireland Assembly

Caoimhe Archibald Cathal Boylan Michaela Boyle Linda Dillon Jemma Dolan Sinéad Ennis Megan Fearon Órlaithí Flynn Colm Gildernew Declan Kearney Catherine Kelly Gerry Kelly Seán Lynch Alex Maskey Declan McAleer Raymond McCartney Fra McCann Philip McGuigan Ian Milne Karen Mullan Conor Murphy Carál Ní Chuilín John O'Dowd Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Michelle O'Neill Emma Rogan Pat Sheehan

House of Commons (Abstentionist)

Mickey Brady Michelle Gildernew Chris Hazzard Paul Maskey Elisha McCallion Barry McElduff Francie Molloy


List of current Sinn Féin elected representatives


European United Left–Nordi