Founding member and current Deputy Leader of the SDLP; elected Party Chairperson in 1978, becoming the first woman to chair a political party in Ireland; previously served as General Secretary of the SDLP, member of the Senate of the Republic of Ireland, District Councillor on Craigavon Borough Council, leader of the SDLP Council Group, and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly; former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, widely acclaimed for her handling of the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001; elected to and appointed chairperson of the SDLP political negotiations for the Upper Bann constituency; former recipient of the 2002 Channel 4 ‘Politician of the Year’ Award.
Dr. Martin Mansergh (born 1946) is a British-born, Irish Protestant nationalist politician and a Fianna Fáil member of the Seanad Éireann in the Republic of Ireland.
Martin Mansergh was born in England in 1946, the son of the County Tipperary-born historian Nicholas Mansergh. Martin Mansergh was educated in England at The King’s School, Canterbury and Christ Church, Oxford. Mansergh studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Oxford, and obtained a Doctorate in French history. He entered the Department of Foreign Affairs by open civil service competition in 1974, and was promoted to the position of First Secretary in 1977. Later recruited by Taoiseach Charles J Haughey, he has worked for the Fianna Fail party ever since, serving under three Fianna Fail leaders as Director of Research, Policy and Special Advisor on Northern Ireland.
Mansergh was a key member of the teams which formed the Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition in 1992 and the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition in 1997. As a senior adviser to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mansergh has played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process over the last twenty years. He ran for Fianna Fáil as a Dáil candidate in the Tipperary South constituency in the 2002 general election but failed to be elected with 5,233 first-preference votes, just under 15% of the poll. However, Mansergh was elected to Seanad Éireann by the Agricultural Panel in July of the same year. He is also a member of the Irish Council of State, having been appointed by the President Mary McAleese.
He is the author of ‘The Legacy of History’, a collection of his speeches and essays, published by Mercier Press. He currently writes a weekly column on Saturdays for the Irish Times.
[Martin Mansergh Biography Copyright Wikipedia contributors (2006). Martin Mansergh. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 June 2006 12:39]
Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.