Martina Anderson

Martina Anderson
Martina Anderson MLA
Junior Minister at the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
In office
16 May 2011 –
Serving with Jonathan Bell
Preceded by Gerry Kelly Sinn Féin
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Foyle
Assumed office
7 March 2007
Preceded by Mitchel McLaughlin
Personal details
Born 1962
Bogside, Derry, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Spouse(s) Paul Kavanagh
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Martina Anderson MLA

Martina Anderson, MLA (born 1962) is an Irish nationalist politician in Northern Ireland who occupies the post of Director of Unionist Engagement for Sinn Féin [1] and is a former volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).[1]



Anderson was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, into a large republican family. 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. Anderson was released on bail after spending two months in Armagh Women's Prison, and fled across the border to Buncrana in County Donegal.[1]

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 bombing.[2][3]

In 1989, Anderson married fellow prisoner and IRA member Paul Kavanagh at Full Sutton Prison. 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 and has since renounced violence.[1][4][5]

Political career

In 2007 Anderson was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly as a Sinn Féin member for Foyle, along with Raymond McCartney.[6]

In May 2007 Anderson became one of the first Sinn Féin members to join the Northern Ireland Policing Board.[7]

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’,[8] 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’."[8] Employment monitoring by the Equality Commission records solely religion, and not political affiliation.[9]

She was selected by Sinn Féin to fight the Foyle constituency at the 2010 Westminster General Election.[10] She lost to the SDLP incumbent, Mark Durkan by 5,000 votes.


External links

Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Mitchel McLaughlin
MLA for Foyle
2007 -
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerry Kelly
Junior Minister
2011 -
Succeeded by

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