- Alan McFarland
Infobox Politician | name=Alan McFarland, MLA
birth_date=birth date and age|1949|8|9|df=y
Plumbridge, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Ulster Unionist Party
MajorRobert Alan McFarland, MLA (born 9 August 1949in Plumbridge, County Tyrone[ [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2007-09-10.4.1&s=speaker%3A13826#g4.12 Economic Development Task Force: 10 Sep 2007: Northern Ireland Assembly debates (TheyWorkForYou.com) ] ] ) is an Ulster Unionist Partypolitician and MLA for North Down in Northern Ireland.
Rockport Schoolnear Holywoodand Campbell Collegein East Belfast. After a short career in banking he was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstand was commissioned into the Royal Tank Regimentin 1974. He is also a member of Mensa. [ [http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/members/biogs_07/mcfarland_a.htm NI Assembly] ]
He retired from the
British Armyin 1992 with the rank of Majorand became a Parliamentary Assistant to James Molyneaux, MP, and the Rev. Martin Smyth, MP. In 1995 he was selected by the Ulster Unionists to contest the North Down by-election over the favourite for the nomination, Reg Empey, but was beaten in the election by Robert McCartney. He was again beaten by McCartney in the 1997 general election by a narrower margin.
In 1996 he was elected to the
Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialoguefor North Downand was involved in the talks process that resulted in the Belfast Agreementof 1998. He was one of three UUP members returned to the Assembly for North Down in the first elections to the body in 1998 and he retained his seat in the November 2003 elections and March 2007 elections.
He was until reconstitution in 2006 one of the UUP representatives on the
Northern Ireland Policing Board.
Following the resignation of
David Trimbleas UUP leader in 2005 he stood as a candidate in the contest to succeed him and was narrowly beaten by Sir Reg Empey. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4085738.stm BBC] ] Sir Reg appointed McFarland the party's Chief Negotiator following the election, in which role McFarland served through the period before restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland.
In 2007, following the restoration of devolution the details of a row between McFarland and Empey were leaked to the press. It is believed that McFarland turned down the nomination to be Minister for Health when he discovered that Empey planned to take the UUP's other ministerial portfolio himself, insisting that the Party Leader should concentrate on rebuilding the party from outside the
Northern Ireland Executive. Empey did not back down from his stance and appointed Michael McGimpseyto the Department of Health instead. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6573289.stm BBC report] ]
* [http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/members/biogs_03/mcfarland_a.htm NI Assembly biography]
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