Sheelagh Murnaghan
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Sheelagh Murnaghan

Sheelagh Murnaghan

Member of the
Northern Ireland House of Commons

ConstituencyQueen's University of Belfast
Personal details
Born(1924-05-26)26 May 1924
Dublin, Ireland
Died14 September 1993(1993-09-14) (aged 69)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Political partyUlster Liberal Party
Alma materQueen's University Belfast

Sheelagh Mary Murnaghan (26 May 1924 -- 14 September 1993) was an Ulster Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland at Stormont.

Early Life

Loreto Convent, Omagh where Sheelagh was educated.

Sheelagh Mary Murnaghan was born on 24 May 1924 to Josephine Mary Morrogh and Vincent Hugh Murnaghan. She was the eldest of their six children. Her grandfather, George Murnaghan was a well-known nationalist politician in Northern Ireland. She was educated at Loreto Grammar School in Omagh, Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham and studied law in Queen's University Belfast, graduating in 1947.[1][2] While studying in Queen's University, Murnaghan also captained the hockey team from 1955 to 1956[3][4] and was the first female president of the Literary and Scientific Debating Society; also known as The Literific.[4][2]

Political career

After graduating from college, Murnaghan became "[one] of only nine women ever elected to the fifty-two-seat Stormont House of Commons during its fifty-year existence"[3]. She became a member of the Ulster Liberal Association in 1959[4][1] and finished her political career in November 1968 when the seat for Queen's University Belfast was abolished.[1][2] "Sheelagh was seen as a slightly eccentric figure",[2] according to Ruth Illingworth, during her time as a politician.[5][6]

While an MP, Murnaghan campaigned to abolish the death penalty and for a bill of human rights. When her seat was abolished, she failed to win North Down at the 1969 Northern Ireland general election, and was also unsuccessful in Belfast South at the 1973 Northern Ireland Assembly election. During the 1970s, she sat on various quangos, including the Industrial Relations Tribunal and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She continued to practice at the Bar, specialising in harassment cases.

She died in 1993, aged 69, from undisclosed causes.


  1. ^ a b c Woods, C. J. "Murnaghan, Sheelagh Mary". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "SHEELAGH MURNAGHAN / Politician / Lawyer / Sportswoman / Civil Rights Activist --". Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ a b Rynder, Constance (11 January 2007). "Sheelagh Murnaghan And The Struggle For Human Rights In Northern Ireland1". Irish Studies Review. doi:10.1080/09670880600984442.
  4. ^ a b c Luddy, Maria. "Murnaghan, Sheelagh Mary: 1924-1993". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-60681. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "News in Brief: University seat". The Times. London. 1 November 1961. p. 5. Retrieved 2018 – via Times digital archive.
  6. ^ "News in Brief: Woman Liberal wins N. Ireland seat". The Times. London. 25 November 1961. p. 5. Retrieved 2018 – via Times digital archive.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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