Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff's political path began at Queen's

Barry McElduff with Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill after he was elected MP for West Tyrone in June. Picture by Liam McBurney, Press Association
Michael McHugh, Press Association

BARRY McElduff has been involved in politics since he was a student at Queen's University Belfast more than 20 years ago.

The 51-year-old father-of-three was first elected as an assembly member for West Tyrone in 1998. In June he was elected as an MP for the constituency following the retirement of his Sinn Féin colleague Pat Doherty.

Mr McElduff lives in the village of Carrickmore and represents an area including the market town of Omagh.

A life-long republican, he has previously spoken of taking the day off school to attend the funeral of IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

He said: "The level of his commitment and sacrifice is difficult to comprehend".

After the then Newry and Mourne council named a play park after McCreesh in 2001, Mr McElduff defended the decision.

He said: "There are Irish people in possession of Nobel Prizes for their various contributions.

"As far as I am concerned, Raymond McCreesh would be more deserving of international recognition than many of the past recipients."

A keen sportsman in his younger years, he described his best moment as scoring for Carrickmore in the GAA Championship against Augher in 1988.

The walls of his former office at Stormont were adorned with photos of sporting legends including boxer Muhammad Ali and Tyrone Gaelic footballer Peter Canavan.

Mr McElduff was one of the north's most high-profile MLAs.

While at Stormont he led a committee inquiry into funding of the arts.

He pressed for the restoration of townlands to Northern Ireland addresses, saying they were part of a "shared heritage" and reflective of local history, geography or culture.

He apologised for praising members of the party's youth wing for painting red Royal Mail postboxes green, like those in the Republic.

An airwaves regular, he has been known for his sharp wit and even performed stand-up comedy in Omagh.

An avid newspaper reader, in 2010 he wrote a light-hearted book, Keep 'Er Lit, which included stories of republicanism, the GAA and community activism.

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