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|Barr | Barry | Beggs | Bell | Blair | Blaney | Boal | Bradford | Brooke | Browne | Bruton | Bunting | Burke | Burnside | Byrne |

Barr, Glen (b. 1932)
Loyalist Activist; Community Activist; Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) Strike May 1974

A trade unionist from Derry Glen Barr joined the Loyalist Association of Workers (LAW) in the early 1970s and then became involved with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). In addition Barr was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in June 1973 for the constituency of Londonderry (1973-74) representing the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (VUPP). His opposition to the newly established power-sharing Executive and the Sunningdale Agreement saw him increasingly assume an important position in the campaign against both by Loyalist paramilitaries and Unionists. During this period Barr's growing profile was clearly indicated when he assumed the role of Chairman of the Co-ordinating Committee which managed and conducted the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) of May 1974.

With the subsequent collapse of the Executive along with its associated bodies, for a while he retained his position with the VUPP and was again elected to represent the party in the Constitutional Convention (1975-76). For a short time he served as its joint leader before the VUPP ceased to exist as a political party in 1978. After this Barr was once again to be linked to the UDA and although he was always to deny becoming a member of the organisation, was closely associated with it. Throughout 1978-79 he worked with the new Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), which had close ties with the UDA, and publicly supported its proposals for an independent Northern Ireland. In 1979 however he left active politics and went on to became involve in a variety of community projects. In 1997, in a surprise move, he accepted an appointed to become a member of the Parades Commission but resigned shortly afterwards in April 1998.

Book References:
Anderson, Don. (1994), 14 May Days: The Inside Story of the Loyalist Strike of 1974. Dublin: Gill&Macmillan.
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Hennessey, Thomas. (1997), A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-1996. Dublin: Gill&Macmillan.
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 20 March 2003]


Barry, Peter (b. 10 August 1928)
Politician; Fine Gael (FG) TD; Irish Foreign Minister 1982-1987

Peter Barry was born in Cork and educated at the Model School and Christian Brothers' School, Cork before beginning work in the family business, Barry's Tea. He was first elected to the Dáil in 1969 as a member of Fine Gael (FG) for a constituency in his native Cork (1969-97). In 1973 came promotion when he was appointed as Minister for Transport and Power (1973-76) in a coalition government between FG and the Labour Party. This was followed by a spell as Minister of Education (1976-77), before the general election of 1977 saw the return of Fianna Fail (FF) to power. With the return to government of a FG - Labour coalition in 1981 he was appointed Minister of the Environment (1981-82) before it collapsed as a result of internal disagreements early in 1982.

In December 1982, after yet another general election, the combination of FG and Labour were once again returned to office and on this occasion Barry became Minister of Foreign Affairs (1982-87). This appointment came at a significant moment given the ongoing discussions between the British and Irish governments which had begun in the early 1980s with the aim of improving relations between the two particularly over the issue of Northern Ireland. He was therefore closely involved in the process of negotiations that produced the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) in November 1985 and in his role as Irish Foreign Minister became co-chairman of the ministerial conference established under the AIA. Barry was to hold these two positions until the fall of the FG - Labour government at the general election of 1987. He was never again to hold government office and unsuccessfully attempted in 1987 to stand for the leadership of FG. In 1997 Barry announced his intention not to stand at the next general election and to retire from active politics.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Kenny, Anthony. (1986), The Road to Hillsborough: The Shaping of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Oxford: Pergamon.
McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
O'Byrnes, Stephen. (1986), Hiding Behind A Face: Fine Gael under Fitzgerald. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
Web Sources:
http://www.rte.ie/culture/millennia/people/barrypeter.html
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 5 November 2002]


Beggs, ('Roy') John Robert (b. 20 February 1936)
Politician; Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP 1983-present

Roy Beggs was born in Belfast and later educated at Ballyclare High School and Stranmillis Teacher Training College before entering the teaching profession. Beggs first joined the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the early 1970s and went on to represent it on Larne Borough Council (1973-82). In 1982 however he left the DUP after an internal party dispute and became a member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and then served the party on Larne Borough Council (1982-present). At the 1983 Westminster general election he was returned, by a small majority, as the new UUP MP for the constituency of East Antrim (1983-present). As with his other parliamentary colleagues he was closely associated with in the campaign of protests against the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). In 1995 he was charged and later fined for taking part in a blockade of Larne Port following the decision of the British Government to ban Orangemen from marching along the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. Beggs has often taken a highly sceptical attitude to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Whilst not openly associating with critics of David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), he has continued to voice his doubts about the GFA. At Westminster Beggs has acted as the UUP's spokesperson on education and employment matters.

Book References:
Cochrane, Feargal. (2001), Unionist Politics and the Politics of Unionism since the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press.
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Web Sources:
http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/politics2/BIOG/MP_BIOGS/bio.asp?id=001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/vote2001/candidates/candidates/0/01301.
http://www.uup.org/
http://www.rte.ie/news/features/westminster_election/constituencies/east_antrim.html
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 20 March 2003]


Bell, Eileen (b. 15 August 1943)
Politician; Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) 2001-present

Eileen Bell was born in Dromara, County Down and educated at the Dominican College, Belfast and later graduated from the University of Ulster with BA. (Hons.) Degree in History and Politics. For a period Bell worked in the Northern Ireland Civil Service before leaving to take up a position with Marks and Spencers. Her political career began in the 1980s when she joined the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) and served as an active member of its West Belfast Branch before going on to act as the party's General Secretary (1985-90) and Chairperson (1998-99). During the Brooke-Mayhew political talks in the years 1991 to 1992 Bell was a member of the APNI' s delegation and in 1993 was elected to North Down Council (1993-present). Returned to the Northern Ireland Forum in May 1996 she went on to become a member of the APNI's delegates to the multi-party talks (1996-98). In June 1998 Bell was elected as a member of the new Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA) for the constituency of North Down (1998-present)and in October 2001 was chosen as the new Deputy Leader of the APNI (2001-present).

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
WebSources:
http://www.stratagem-ni.org/members/
http://www.ni-assembly.gov.uk/members/biogs/ebell.htm
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 20 March 2003]


Blair, ('Tony') Anthony Charles Lynton (b. 6 May 1953)
Politician; Labour Party MP; British Prime Minister 1997-present

Tony Blair was born in Scotland and was educated at Choristers School, Durham and Fettes College, Edinburgh before going on to attend St John's College, Oxford where he read Law. In 1976 he qualified as a barrister and continued with his legal work until 1983 when he was elected as Labour MP for the constituency of Sedgefield (1983-present). Within a short period of time Blair quickly established himself within the Labour Parliamentary Party and over the next decade gained a series of promotions in terms of appointments to the Shadow Cabinet. In 1994 he was elected Leader of the Labour Party (1994-present) and set about attempting to broaden its electoral appeal by modernising both its policies and internal structures. At the general election in May 1997 this work was to ensure the return of a Labour government in Britain for the first time since 1979 and he assumed the role of Prime Minister (1997-present).

Under the leadership of Blair, Labour Party policy on Northern Ireland was changed from the traditional commitment to work for Irish unity by consent to a more neutral stance. In his own words this meant that in the future Labour would not at act as a "persuader for unity" or attempt to persuade the people of Northern Ireland "one way or the other". Furthermore with regards to the "Peace Process" in Ireland, which had become bogged down on the question of paramilitary decommissioning, whilst in opposition he largely supported the line taken by the incumbent government, led by John Major. In essence Blair backed the approach that in order for the political representatives of these paramilitary groups to enter all-party talks then decommissioning of weapons had to take place first. This remained the position until after the general election of May 1997 when he attempted to inject fresh impetus into the stalled process along with the new Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Bertie Ahern.

As a result of private and public negotiations over the following few months, progress began to be made with Blair setting the date of 15 September 1997 for the commencement of multi-party talks. With the restoration of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire in July 1997 along with the decision of Sinn Féin (SF) to sign up to the Mitchell Principles, republican involvement was ensured. On the other hand in order to guarantee the presence of the largest unionist party at the talks, Blair assured the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) that no final agreement would be reached without their consent. Once these talks got underway his initial involvement was minimal but at times did involve important symbolic interventions. The most obvious example of this came in October 1997 when during a visit to Northern Ireland, Blair became the first British Prime Minister to meet with the leadership of SF since 1921. As the deadline however approached for the conclusion of the negotiations in April 1998 and with no apparent settlement in prospect, the arrival of Blair and Ahern in early April 1998 signaled the seriousness of the situation. The participation of both men was to prove crucial in leading to the emergence of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) on 10 April 1998. In the subsequent referendum campaign on the GFA in Northern Ireland during May 1998 he was to play an important part in encouraging support amongst those sections of the unionist community who remained sceptical. At one stage this involved him giving five handwritten pledges "to the people of Northern Ireland" in order to address those issues causing the most concern. It is widely accepted that these commitments helped to ensure a new momentum to the 'Yes' campaign and ultimately to produce a comprehensive vote in favour of the GFA.

Since then however the problems of implementing the GFA have continued to cause problems and in each ensuing crisis Blair has been frequently called upon, along with Ahern, to take charge of the efforts to find a solution. Following the British general election in June 2001 the Labour party was returned to power with a huge parliamentary majority. In his continuing role as Prime Minister, Blair has found that the issue of Northern Ireland has remained close to the top of his political agenda.

Book References:
Dixon, Paul. (2001), Northern Ireland : The Politics of War and Peace. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Hennessey, Thomas. (2000), The Northern Ireland Peace Process: Ending the Troubles? London: Gill & Macmillan.
Ramsden, John (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sopel, Jon. (1995), Tony Blair: The Moderniser. London: Bantam.
Rentoul, John. (2002), Tony Blair Prime Minster: Prime Minster. London: Little Brown.
Web Sources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1170144.stm
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-463,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/vote2001/candidates/candidates/5/50602.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/vote2001/hi/english/parties/newsid_1179000/1179145.stm
http://www.labour.org.uk/primeminister/
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 5 November 2002]


Blaney, Neil (b. 1 October 1922)
Politician; Teachta Dáil (TD) 1948-1995

A native of County Donegal Neil Blayney succeeded his father in 1948 as Fianna Fáil (FF) TD for Donegal East (1948-71). Blaney quickly established himself and in 1957 was appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (1957-58), then Minister for Local Government (1958-66) and finally served as Minister of Agriculture (1966-70). His father had been an active member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the War of Independence and later the Civil War. Blaney inherited this Republican tradition and with the outbreak of widespread unrest in Northern Ireland at the end of the 1960s, Blaney expressed strong views concerning the position of Northern nationalists. This then led to allegations of his involvement, along with others, to import arms and ammunitions into the Republic. These weapons were allegedly to be smuggled into Northern Ireland for use by nationalists, who had been requesting assistance from the Dublin government, in the defence of Catholic areas from what they saw as sustained attacks from Loyalist militants and security forces. As a result in May 1970 Blaney was sacked from the cabinet and later faced criminal charges for his part in these events but it was subsequently decided by the presiding judge that he had no case to answer. In November 1971 having been expelled from the FF parliamentary party he went on to establish his own Independent FF organisation and this allowed him to remain as a TD (1971-95). His popularity was further illustrated when in 1979 Blaney was elected to the European Parliament (1979-84). Until his death in 1995 he continued to maintain his own brand of Republican beliefs and to argue in favour of a united Ireland.

Book References:
Collins, Stephen. (2000), The Power Game: Fianna Fáil Since Lemass. Dublin: O'Brien.
Elliott, Sydney., and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
O'Brien, Justin. (2000), The Arms Trial. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
Web Sources:
http://www.rte.ie/culture/millennia/people/blaneyneil.html
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 28 March 2003]


Boal, Desmond (b. 1929)
Politician; Unionist MP (Stormont)

Desmond Boal had pursued a legal career before entering politics in 1960 when he was returned as the new Unionist MP for the Shankill constituency in the Stormont parliament (1960-71). Throughout his parliamentary career Boal was a frequent critic of the party leadership but this reached its peak under Captain Terence O'Neill, then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Along with a growing number of his colleagues on the backbenches, Boal was opposed to O'Neill's attempt at improve relations with both the Irish government and with the minority community in Northern Ireland. As a result he was to be one of the most prominent men behind the campaign to oust O'Neill at the end of the 1960s. Even after the fall of O'Neill in April 1969, Boal was to be as equally critical of the policies followed by his immediate predecessors, James Chichester-Clark and Brian Faulkner. In early 1971 Boal resigned from the Unionist Party and decided to join with Ian Paisley, in establishing the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to provide dissident Unionist opinion with a viable political alternative. Not only did he become the first chairman of the DUP but he also became one of its first public representatives as he continued to sit in Stormont (1971-72). After series of disagreements with Paisley over the future policy and direction of the DUP, Boal resigned from the party in 1974. Although he continued to have an interest in politics he never again became actively involved.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney., and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Harbinson, John Fitzsimons. (1973), The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882-1973: Its Development and Organisation. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Mulholland, Marc. (2000), Northern Ireland at the Crossroads: Ulster Unionism in the O'Neill Years 1960-9. London: Macmillan.
Smyth, Clifford. (1987), Ian Paisley, Voice of Protestant Ulster. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 28 March 2003]


Bradford, Roy Hamilton (b. 7 July 1920)
Politician; Unionist MP (Stormont); Northern Ireland Executive Minister January-May 1974

Roy Bradford was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and Trinity College Dublin, before going onto serve with British Army Intelligence during the Second World War. During the 1950s Bradford worked in London as a producer and writer for television but returned to Northern Ireland after an invitation to stand as a candidate for the Unionist Party. In 1965 he was returned to the Stormont parliament for the Belfast ward of Victoria (1965-72) and after serving in a number of junior ministerial positions, he entered the cabinet as Minister for Education (1967-68). Later Bradford went onto have spells as Chief Whip (1968-69), Minister of Commerce (1969-71), and Minister of Development (1971-72).

Although initially highly critical of the decision by the British government to introduce direct rule in 1972 he supported moves by Brian Faulkner, then Unionist leader, to enter into negotiations to restore devolved government to Northern Ireland. In June 1973 Bradford was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly (1973-74) for the constituency of East Belfast and with the establishment of a power-sharing Executive in January 1974, he became head of the Department of Environment (January 1974 - May 1974). At the same time however he publicly voiced his reservations concerning the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and its attempts to formalise relations between Belfast and Dublin. During the Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) strike of May 1974 he angered some of his colleagues on the Executive when he suggested that contact would have to be made with the UWC leadership. After the collapse of the Executive and the Assembly Bradford left active politics for a time but then returned in the late 1980s following his election in 1989 as an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) councillor on North Down Borough Council (1989-98).

Book References:
Anderson, Don. (1994), 14 May Days: The Inside Story of the Loyalist Strike of 1974. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
Elliott, Sydney., and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Harbinson, John Fitzsimons. (1973), The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882-1973: Its Development and Organisation. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Mulholland, Marc. (2000), Northern Ireland at the Crossroads: Ulster Unionism in the O'Neill Years 1960-9. London: Macmillan.
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 28 March 2003]


Brooke, Peter (b. 3 March 1934)
Politician; Conservative Party MP; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland July 1989 - April 1992

The son of the late Henry Brooke, a former Conservative Home Secretary (1971-73), Peter Brooke was educated at Oxford and Harvard Business School and prior to entering politics worked as a businessman. His political career began in 1977 when he was first elected as a Conservative MP representing the constituency of the City of London and Westminster South (1977-97) and the Cities of London and Westminster (1997-2002). Brooke served in a number of junior ministerial positions before being appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party (1987-89) and then joined the cabinet in July 1989 as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1989-92). With this appointment also came the role of co-chairman of the ministerial conference established under the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA). In many ways his immediate agenda was to be dominated by the AIA. He sought to try to resolve the political stalemate that had halted the progress in working towards the return of devolved power for Northern Ireland as set out in the AIA. The prospects for this however looked bleak for a variety of reasons. To begin with unionist politicians had made it clear that they would refuse to enter into negotiations until the British government had suspended the workings of the AIA. On the other hand the authorities in Dublin along with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), then the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland, were reluctant to see such a step taken.

In spite of the obvious difficulties Brooke pressed ahead with his efforts to create the conditions to allow for a new round of political negotiations to take place. Finally in April 1991 these got under way but given the legacy of mistrust and suspicion amongst all the parties little progress was made and they ended in July 1991 without any real breakthrough. Although judged a failure in one aspect they were to leave an important legacy in that their agenda was to be the one that was to form the basis of further negotiations in the late 1990s. For instance the Brooke talks of 1991 introduced the concept of talks concentrating on three sets of relationships: those within Northern Ireland; those between the two parts of Ireland; and those involving Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

Elsewhere he was also anxious to explore the possibilities that might arise in the circumstances of an Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire. The most obvious example of this came in November 1990 when in a speech that infuriated unionist opinion he set out to state that the British government had 'no strategic or economic interest' in maintaining partition. Furthermore Brooke reiterated that the authorities in London would not stand in the way of Irish unity if it was pursued by 'peaceful' and 'constitutional' means. As a result Brooke was also prepared to authorise secret talks with the republican movement in order to try to discover if common ground could be found to initiate further discussions. These contacts were not revealed until a number of years later. In the meantime his reputation was to suffer on 17 January 1992 when he was persuaded to sing a song on the 'Late Late Show' on Radio Telefis Éireann (RTE) in Dublin just hours after the Teebane bombing in County Tyrone. His offer to resign was turned down by John Major, then British Prime Minister, but then following the 1992 general election Brooke was replaced as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. After a brief spell on the backbenches he returned to the cabinet in September 1992 as Secretary of State for National Heritage and remained in this post until July 1993. In July 1997 he was appointed Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee and served until May 2001 when he stepped down as an MP.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press
Hennessey, Thomas. (2000), The Northern Ireland Peace Process: Ending the Troubles. London: Gill & Macmillan.
Ramsden, John (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press


Browne, ('Des') Desmond (b. 22 March 1952)
Politician; Labour Party MP; Minister of State at Northern Ireland Office (NIO) 2001-2003

Des Browne studied at Glasgow University and later graduated with an LLB and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1993. In June 1997 Browne was elected as the new Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon (1997-present) and went onto serve in a number of junior ministerial positions. In June 2001 he was appointed Minister of State at Northern Ireland Office (NIO) with responsibility for Criminal Justice, Victims and Human Rights. Then following the move to suspend devolved government in Northern Ireland in October 2002, Browne's role was increased to include the Department of Social Development (DSD), the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), Equality, Human Rights and Community Relations. In June 2003 he left the NIO following a government re-shuffle and took up another junior ministerial position.

Web Sources:
http://www.nio.gov.uk/press/dbrowne.htm
http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/politics2/BIOG/MP_BIOGS/bio.asp?id=0347
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 20 March 2003; updated 8 June 2004]


Bruton, John (b. 18 May 1947)
Politician; Fine Gael (FG) TD; Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Republic of Ireland 1994-97

John Bruton was born in Dublin and educated at St. Dominicís College, Cabra; Dublin, Clongowes Wood College, Naas, Co. Kildare; University College Dublin from where he graduated with a degree in Economics and Politics. He then pursued a legal career and studied at King's Inn, Dublin before being called to the Bar in 1972. His political career then began in 1969 when he was elected as a Fine Gael (FG) TD for Meath (1969-present) and in the FG-Labour coalition government of 1973-77 he held a number of junior ministerial positions. In 1981 he was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of Finance from June 1981-March 1982 when these same two parties again formed a short lived administration. Then when the FG-Labour coalition returned to office in November 1982, he served as Minister of Industry and Energy (1982-86) and then again as Minister of Finance (1986-87). In 1990 Bruton was elected as Leader of FG (1990-2001) and in spite of facing internal dissent over his style of leadership remained in the position. Following the collapse of the Fianna Fáil (FF) - Labour coalition government in November 1994 he became Taioseach at the head of a new administration made up of FG, Labour, and Democratic Left (1994-97).

With regards to Northern Ireland his government was faced with the evolving peace process and at times this proved to be a difficult task. Initially momentum was maintained most notably with the publication in February 1996 by the British and Irish governments of the Framework Document which outlined proposals for developing relations between the authorities in Belfast, Dublin and London as well as new suggestions as to how Northern Ireland should be governed. In other areas however progress became bogged down on the issue of the decommissioning of paramilitary weaponry. Whilst Bruton urged the authorities in London not to allow this problem to delay the commencement of all-party talks including the political representatives of paramilitary groups indefinitely, he stressed that the subject had to be adequately addressed. As such his relationship with the republican movement grew increasingly fraught as he was seen to be to close to the British and unionist position on this question. This was a claim he was always to deny and instead he was to suggest that as Taoiseach his role was not to represent one side of the arguement but lay in promoting a more neutral stance. Although angered by the collapse of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire in February 1996 Bruton maintained low-level contacts with the republican movement. As such he called upon it to assist in restoring the IRA ceasefire in order to allow for SF to enter into the multi-party talks which were now scheduled to begin in June 1996. At the general election of June 1997 in spite of a good performance by FG the poor showing of its main coalition partner, the Labour Party, led to the coalition government losing office. Once in opposition the internal critics of Bruton returned to the attack and after withstanding a number of challenges to his leadership finally in January 2001 he was replaced as leader of FG.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Maye, Brian. (1993), Fine Gael 1923-1987. A General History with Biographical Sketches of Leading Members. Dublin: Blackwater.
McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th - Century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
Web Sources:
http://european-convention.eu.int/CVs/pdf/Bruton.pdf
http://www.rte.ie/culture/millennia/people/brutonjohn.html


Bunting, Ronald (Major) (b.1924)
Loyalist Activist
[Entry to be included at a later date]


Burke, Ray (b. 1943)
Politician; Fianna Fáil (FF) TD; Irish Foreign Minister June-October 1997

Ray Burke first entered politics in the 1960s when he was elected as a Fianna Fáil (FF) councillor on Dublin County Council (1967-78 and 1985-87). Then at the 1973 general election Burke was returned as a FF TD for the constituency of Dublin North (1973-2002). During the early 1980s he served on two separate occasions as Minister for the Environment as well as a spell as Minister for Energy and Communications in between. As Minister for Justice (1989-92) he became involved in Northern Ireland affairs when he attended meetings of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (AIIC). When FF returned to government following the general election of 1997 he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs (June-October 1997) and was involved immediately in efforts to revive the 'Peace Process'. In July 1997 after negotiations with Marjorie ('Mo') Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments agreed to establish a new international body to deal with the issue of paramilitary decommissioning. With the commencement of all-party talks in September 1997 Burke initially played a prominent role but in October 1997 he was forced to resign after serious allegations emerged concerning his private business interests.

Book References:
Collins, Stephen. (2000), The Power Game: Fianna Fáil Since Lemass. Dublin: O'Brien.
Elliott, Sydney., and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 28 March 2003]


Burnside, David (b. 24 August 1951)
Politician; Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP 2001-present;

David Burnside was born in Ballymoney, County Antrim and was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution before attending Queen's University Belfast where he graduated with a degree in Politics and Ancient History. Burnside first became involved in politics when he became press officer of the Vanguard Unionist Progessive Party (VUPP) (1974-77) but then left to work in London taking up appointments as director of public relations with the Institute of Directors (1979-84) and as director of public affairs with British Airways (1984-93). Following his departure from British Airways in 1993 he established his own public relations company, David Burnside Associates, and also acted as chairman of a related company, New Century Holdings. Although based in London his interest in politics remained strong and his membership of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) ensured a continued interest in Northern Ireland.

With regards to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) he voiced his scepticism over the decision of David Trimble,then leader of the UUP, to enter into the Northern Ireland Executive with Sinn Féin before any act of decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). As a result he became closely associated with the other leading internal UUP opponent of the GFA, Jeffrey Donaldson, and began to advocate that the party should resign from the Executive in the absence of any movement from the IRA. These views became more strident after Burnside was unsuccessful in retaining the Westminster seat of South Antrim for the UUP at a by-election in September 2000. He argued that his defeat at the hands of an anti-agreement candidate representing the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was clear indication of the growing disillusionment of the wider unionist community over the GFA and of the need for the UUP to reconsider its approach. Although this setback was overcome when he won the South Antrim constituency at the general election of June 2001, Burnside maintained his vocal opposition to the UUP remaining in the Executive with SF. As such his criticism of the party leader, David Trimble, intensified and eventually his support for the adoption of a more hardline approach paid dividends at a meeting of the UUP's ruling council in September 2002. In essence this gave notice of the UUP's intention to leave the executive within a given period of time unless republicans clearly demonstrated a firm commitment that there would be no return to violence. Within a matter of weeks developments brought this issue to a head and in the ensuing political turmoil, the British government stepped into suspend the workings of the GFA. He continued however to voice criticism of his party leader, David Trimble, and this took different forms. For instance aong with two of his fellow Westminster MPs, Burnside resigned from the party's group at Westminster from June 2003 until October 2003. In the election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in November 2003 he was returned as a member for the constituency of South Antrim (2003-present).
Web Sources:
http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/POLITICS2/BIOG/MP_BIOGS/bio.asp?id=015
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2051590.stm
http://www.epolitix.com/Data/people/39DB2B6FB1141C4286A5FEED636D593C00000001F35A/Profile.htm
http://www.uup.org/.
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 5 November 2002; updated 8 June 2004]


Byrne, ('Joe') Joseph (b. 29 November 1953)
Politician; Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)

Joe Byrne was educated at the Christian Brothers School, Omagh and Queen's University Belfast from where he graduated with a BSc in Economics. He then took up a lecturing post at Omagh Further Education College. His involvement with politics began when he joined the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and was first elected in 1993 to Omagh District Council (1993-present). Although returned for the constituency of West Tyrone to the Northern Ireland Forum in May 1996, a year later he failed to be returned as its Westminster MP in the general election of June 1997. In spite of this setback he succeeded in June 1998 in being returned for the area in the Northern Ireland Assembly (1998-2003). Then following the decision of the SDLP to take their seats on the new Policing Board in Northern Ireland in November 2001, Byrne became one of the party's three nominees to this body. At the election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in November 2003 Byrne was to lose his seat.

Book References:
Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Web Sources:
http://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/our%20people/byrne.htm
http://www.ni-assembly.gov.uk/members/biogs/jbyrne.htm
http://www.stratagem-ni.org/
[Entry written by B.Lynn - 20 March 2003; updated 10 June 2004]


Notes:
The information has been compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources.
The best general sources for additional information are:
  • Elliott, Sydney. and Flackes, W.D. (1999), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
  • McRedmond, Louis. (ed.) (1998), Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
  • Ramsden, John. (ed.) (2002), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    For related and background information see also:
  • The list of acronyms associated with 'the Troubles'
  • The glossary of terms related to the conflict
  • The abstracts on prominent organisations
  • The chronology of the conflict

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