Martina Anderson

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Martina Anderson
Martina Anderson MEP, Strasbourg - Diliff.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
12 June 2012
Preceded by Bairbre de Brún
Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
In office
16 May 2011 – 11 June 2012
Serving with Jonathan Bell
Preceded by Gerry Kelly
Succeeded by Jennifer McCann
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Foyle
In office
7 March 2007 – 11 June 2012
Preceded by Mitchel McLaughlin
Succeeded by Maeve McLaughlin
Personal details
Born (1962-04-16) 16 April 1962 (age 57)[1]
Derry, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Spouse(s) Paul Kavanagh
Children None

Martina Anderson (born 16 April 1962) is an Irish politician in Northern Ireland who is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing Northern Ireland for Sinn Féin. She is a former volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a convicted bomber. [2][3] Between 2007 and 2012 she was an MLA representing Foyle.


Anderson was born in the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, into a large family with a tradition of Irish republicanism. Her father was a Protestant. She has six sisters and three brothers, one of whom, Peter, is a Sinn Féin councillor.

Anderson was arrested aged 18 leaving a furniture store in Derry and charged with possession of a firearm and causing an explosion. She was released on bail after spending two months in Armagh Women's Prison, and fled across the border to Buncrana in County Donegal.[3]

Anderson was again arrested on 24 June 1985 at a flat in Glasgow with four other IRA members including Brighton bomber Patrick Magee. On 11 June 1986, all five were convicted of conspiring to cause explosions in England, although Magee was the only person convicted in relation to the Brighton hotel bombing.[4][5]

In 1989, Anderson married fellow prisoner and IRA member Paul Kavanagh at Full Sutton Prison. By 1993 she was one of just two female category A prisoners in England, the other being fellow republican Ella O'Dwyer.[6] In 1994, she was transferred from Durham Prison in England to Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland. On 10 November 1998, Anderson was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

On 22 March 2016, Anderson was forced to cancel an event in light of the 2016 Brussels bombings.[7]

Political career

In 2007 Anderson was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly as a Sinn Féin member for Foyle, along with Raymond McCartney.[8]

In May 2007 Anderson became one of the first Sinn Féin members to join the Northern Ireland Policing Board.[9]

In December 2007 Anderson said she was concerned that large numbers of migrant workers from mainly Catholic countries were being classed as 'Catholic/nationalist' in monitoring forms, rather than 'other'.[10] She said "Given that the entire basis of the legislation around monitoring was put in place to identify imbalances in the workforce between the local Catholic/nationalist and Protestant/ unionist communities it is therefore vital that given the addition of migrant workers in the workforce, that they should clearly be categorised as having a community background of 'other'."[10] Employment monitoring by the Equality Commission records solely religion, and not political affiliation.[11]

She occupies the post of Director of Unionist Engagement for Sinn Féin[12][citation needed]

She was selected by Sinn Féin to fight the Foyle constituency at the 2010 Westminster General Election.[13] She lost to the SDLP incumbent, Mark Durkan by 5,000 votes (11% of the vote). In May 2012 it was announced that she would be replacing Bairbre de Brún, as MEP for Northern Ireland.[14] Anderson retained her MEP seat in the 2014 election, topping the poll with 159,813 first-preference votes.[15]


  1. "MLA Details: Ms Martina Anderson". Retrieved 2015-10-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Convicted IRA Bomber Cancels Brussels Easter Uprising Event". Patrika TV. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Beyond the Wire". Ireland's Own. 1996. Archived from the original on 9 December 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Taylor, Peter (2001). Brits. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 157–159. ISBN 0-7475-5806-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Gareth Parry (10 June 1986). "Patrick Magee convicted of IRA terrorist attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Sharrock, David, Fear and folly in She-Wing The Guardian; 29 December 1993
  7. "Convicted IRA Bomber Cancels Brussels Easter Uprising Event". Patrika TV. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Northern Ireland election". BBC. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Policing Board – Martina Anderson MLA". NI Policing Board. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Sinn Fein and DUP in job figures row - Belfast Newsletter". 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2015-10-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "ECNI - Equality Commission, Northern Ireland". 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2015-10-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Sinn Féin Profile". Sinn Féin. 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Anderson ready to fight next election". Derry Journal. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2015-10-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Sinn Fein reshuffle as Martina Anderson takes on MEP role". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "2014 European Election, Northern Ireland First Preference Votes". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
European Parliament
Preceded by
Bairbre de Brún
MEP for Northern Ireland
2012 –
Succeeded by
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Mitchel McLaughlin
MLA for Foyle
Succeeded by
Maeve McLaughlin
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerry Kelly
Junior Minister
Succeeded by
Jennifer McCann