Alex Maskey


Alex Maskey

Infobox Politician | name=Alex Maskey MLA


width=
term_start=26 November, 2003
term_end=
predecessor=
successor=Incumbent
birth_date=birth date and age|1952|1|8|df=y
birth_place=Northern Ireland
constituency=South Belfast
party=Sinn Féin
office=MLA
spouse=Liz McKee
religion=
website= [http://www.sinnfein.ie/elections/candidate/241 Sinn Féin profile]
caption=

Alex Maskey (born 8 January 1952) is an Irish politician who was the first member of Sinn Féin to serve as Belfast's Lord Mayor. He is Sinn Féin's longest sitting Councillor and is currently an MLA for South Belfast as well as being a councillor for the Laganbank area of Belfast. [cite web | title = Alex Maskey | author = | url = http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/councillors/councillors.asp?id=23&areaid=5&menuitem=5 | publisher = Belfast City Council | date = | accessdate = 2007-02-24]

Early life

Maskey was educated at St. Malachy's College and at the Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education and then worked in Belfast docks as a labourer and barman.cite web | title = Biographies of Prominent People | author = | url = http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/people/biography/mpeople.htm#maskey | publisher = Conflict Archive on the Internet | date = | accessdate = 2007-02-23] He was a successful amateur boxer, having only lost 4 out of 75 fights.

When the Troubles broke out in 1969 he became involved with the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and was interned twice in the 1970s.cite web | title = From barman to Belfast's first citizen | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/2027335.stm | publisher = "BBC News" | date = 5 June, 2002 | accessdate = 2007-02-23]

Politics

Maskey stood unsuccessfully in West Belfast in the 1982 Assembly Election. [cite web | title = Northern Ireland Assembly Elections 1982 | author = Nicholas Whyte | url = http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/fa82.htm | publisher = ARK | date = 25 March, 2003 | accessdate = 2007-02-23] In 1983, as part of the armalite and ballot box strategy, Maskey won a by-election for a seat on Belfast City Council from the Upper Falls area and became the first member of Sinn Féin to be elected to Belfast City Council and only the second to be elected in Northern Ireland. Maskey emerged as a key ally of Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams' approach to the strategy. In 1987 he survived being shot at close range by loyalist paramilitaries.

In 1996 Maskey was elected to the Northern Ireland Peace Forum for the Belfast West constituency but did not attend the Forum in accordance with Sinn Féin's policy of abstentionism. Two years later he was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which on this occasion Sinn Féin did not boycott. [cite web | title = West Belfast | author = Nicholas Whyte | url = http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/awb.htm | publisher = ARK | date = 3 June, 1998 | accessdate = 2007-02-24]

Maskey's growing political profile led him to contest the Belfast South constituency in the 2001 general election as part of Sinn Féin's strategy of building up their vote in one of their weaker constituencies.cite web | title = South Belfast | author = Nicholas Whyte | url = http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/asb.htm | publisher = ARK | date = 3 June, 1998 | accessdate = 2007-02-24] In the local elections held on the same day he switched to the Laganbank area of South Belfast and won a seat there.cite web | title = Alex Maskey | author = | url = http://www.sinnfein.ie/elections/candidate/50 | publisher = Sinn Féin | date = | accessdate = 2007-02-23]

In 2002 Maskey became the first ever republican to serve as Lord Mayor of Belfast. His first duty in office was to open the annual Presbyterian General Assembly despite being a non-Presbyterian. [cite web | title = Presbyterians welcome lord mayor | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/2037299.stm | publisher = "BBC News" | date = 10 June, 2002 | accessdate = 2007-02-24] Maskey then generated controversy when in July 2002 he laid a wreath in memorial of Irish soldiers who died in the First World War. However he declined to attend the main memorial ceremony, stating that it was "the military commemoration of the Battle of the Somme". [cite web | title = Maskey marks Somme with wreath | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/2076528.stm | publisher = "BBC News" | date = 1 July, 2002 | accessdate = 2007-02-23]

In the 2003 Assembly election Maskey stood in South Belfast again and won Sinn Féin's first seat there with a boost in the vote share. He also contested the seat in the 2005 general election with the vote share down on the Assembly elections, losing to the Social Democratic and Labour Party candidate, Alasdair McDonnell.

On Christmas Day, 2005, Maskey suffered a heart attack while with his family. Several weeks later he appeared on BBC Radio Ulster to talk about his health. [cite web | title = Ex Belfast mayor discharged after heart attack
author = | url = http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2005/12/30/story237282.asp | publisher = "TCM Archives" | date = 30 December, 2005 | accessdate = 2007-02-23
]

In 2006 he participated in the negotiations resulting in the ETA truce announced on 22 March. [cite web | title = Sinn Féin 'involved in Eta move' | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4840514.stm | publisher = "BBC News" | date = 24 March, 2006 | accessdate = 2007-02-23]

On 23 April 2007 he was announced as one of three Sinn Féin members who would sit on the re-vamped Northern Ireland Policing Board

References


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