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William Brian Maginness

Minister for Labour of
Northern Ireland
In office
2nd August 1945 – 12th April 1949

In office
4th November 1949 – 26th October 1953

Minister of Finance for
Northern Ireland
In office
13th February 1953 – 20th April 1956

Attorney General of
Northern Ireland
In office
14th April 1956 – 20th March 1964

In office
1938 – 1964
Constituency Iveagh

Born 10 July 1901
Died 16 April 1967
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Religion Christian - Anglican

William Brian Maginess, QC (10 July 1901 - 16 April 1967) was a member of the Government of Northern Ireland, who was widely seen as a possible successor to Lord Brookeborough as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland

Born in 1901, the son of a Lisburn solicitor, he was educated at The Wallace High School and Trinity College Dublin[1] from where he graduated with a Law degree (LLD), and was called to the Northern Irish bar in 1923.

Having served in the Royal Corps of Artillery during the Second World War he entered the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1938 when he won the Lisburn centered seat of Iveagh. He entered the Cabinet of Sir Basil Brooke in 1945 when he became Minister of Labour and his stints as the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance (de facto Deputy Prime Minister) left him favorite to succeed Brooke as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

In the early 1950s however, Maginess became a hate figure for the Orange Institution when he banned marches through nationalist areas in Counties Down and Londonderry. Brooke, whilst sympathetic to his decisions, was forced to sacrifice Maginess to preserve progressive legislation, and he was demoted to the non Cabinet post of Attorney General in April 1956.

In December 1959, Ian Paisley led a demonstration of Ulster Protestant Action members to Stormont Castle to protest at Brooke's refusal to dismiss Maginess and Sir Clarence Graham for making speeches at an Ulster Young Unionist Council event supporting Catholic membership of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Having been appointed a King's Counsel in 1946 he was appointed a County Court Judge in 1964 when he resigned from Parliament. He died three years later in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. A plaque in his memorial is cited inside the Church of Ireland parish church in Hillsborough, the Church where he is buried[2].

Sources

  • 'The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882-1973 : its development and organisation' (1973), J F Harbinson
  • 'Paisley' (1985), Moloney & Pollak
  • 'Brian Maginess and the Limits of Liberal Unionism', Irish Review, 25, 1999-2000, Henry Patterson
  • 'Ireland since 1939' (2006), Henry Patterson
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
John Charles Wilson
Member of Parliament for Iveagh
1938 - 1964
Succeeded by
Samuel Magowan
Political offices
Preceded by
William Grant
Minister of Labour
1945 - 49
Succeeded by
Harry Midgley
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1946
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock
Preceded by
Roland Nugent
Minister of Commerce and Production
1949
Succeeded by
William McCleery
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Minister of Home Affairs
1949 - 53
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
John Maynard Sinclair
Minister of Finance
1953 - 56
Succeeded by
George Boyle Hanna
Preceded by
Edmond Warnock
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1956 - 64
Succeeded by
Edward Warburton Jones
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