Irish lecturers in polls

June 19, 1998

ACADEMICS feature prominently in the list of candidates for election to the Northern Ireland assembly next week.

Best-known is Ulster Unionist Dermot Nesbitt, a Queen's University lecturer, who had partial leave of absence for the multi-party talks that drew up the Stormont Agreement, backed by a 71 per cent vote in the recent referendum.

Mr Nesbitt, head of the accounting and finance department, has become a right-hand man to party leader David Trimble, himself a former Queen's law lecturer.

Another Ulster Unionist candidate, Esmond Birnie, is an economics lecturer at Queen's.

Lord Alderdice, chief of the Alliance Party, which hopes to hold the balance of power, runs the psychotherapy department at Queen's while unofficial Labour candidate Boyd Black lectures in economics.

On the nationalist side, senior figures in John Hume's Social Democratic and Labour Party are academics. Best known is Sean Farren, a senior education lecturer at the University of Ulster in Coleraine. South Antrim candidate Jonathan McClelland is an economics lecturer. One South Belfast candidate is Monica McWilliams, leader of the Women's Coalition which played a pivotal role in the talks. She is professor of women's studies and social policy at UU.

The Alliance party's Jane Dunlop, standing against Ian Paisley in north Antrim, works in careers at UU. United Kingdom Unionist Paddy Roche, whose party aligned with the anti-agreement camp, is a part-time economics lecturer at UU. Candidate Marietta Farrell is a lecturer at Upper Bann Institute.

Opinion, page 11

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