Queen's elects child of the non-famous

February 23, 1996

The son and daughter of two high-profile Ulster politicians have lost their first election - for president of the student union at Queen's University.

Deirdre McAliskey, daughter of renowned republican Bernadette McAliskey and Jonathon Taylor, son of Ulster Unionist Party deputy leader John Taylor, were soundly defeated for the post by history graduate Michelle McCauley who campaigned on the basis that she did not have famous parents.

The 22-year-old from Dromore gained 44 per cent of the vote, followed by Ms McAliskey with 33 per cent and Mr Taylor with 23 per cent. Some 3,426 of the university's 14,000 eligible students took part in the vote, double the usual figure.

Ms McAliskey stood on a podium after the result and declared: "People like me don't go away", while Mr Taylor claimed he had been the victim of a dirty tricks campaign. Ms McAliskey added however: "It was the first election I've lost and it will be the last." Mr Taylor said his posters had been torn down and the student union remained badly divided.

The media hype surrounding the next generation of Ulster politicians in the context of the breakdown of the IRA ceasefire seemed only to increase support for Ms McCauley. She said being a Protestant or a Catholic was an irrelevance because the vital issues in the election affected all students.

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