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Billy Leonard (born 1955) is an Irish republican politician.

Born in Lurgan to a Protestant family,[1] Leonard is a former lay preacher and former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary reserve and the Orange Order.[2]

In 2001, Leonard was elected in The Skerries area of Coleraine Borough Council as a representative of the Social Democratic and Labour Party,[3] but left in 2004 to join Sinn Féin, where his background is highly unusual. He was the first Sinn Féin member of the council, and was re-elected in 2005 in the Bann area.[3] He also stood unsuccessfully in for the party in East Londonderry at the 2005 UK general election, and in the constituency of the same name at the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2007.[4]

Leonard has been selected to succeed Francis Brolly as the Sinn Féin MLA for East Londonderry, to take office in early 2010.[5]


  1. ^ SDLP man defects to Sinn Fein", BBC News, 19 January 2004
  2. ^ "Billy Leonard's journey from the Orange Order to Sinn Fein MLA", Belfast Telegraph, 20 November 2009
  3. ^ a b Coleraine Borough Council Elections 1993-2005
  4. ^ East Londonderry
  5. ^ "Ex RUC man becomes Sinn Fein MLA", BBC News, 19 November 2009


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