Feature: New Republican Assembly members profiled
Philip McGuigan -- North Antrim
Philip Mc Guigan is 29 years old, married and has 4 children.
A former student of Queens University, Philip is a full time
Sinn Fein activist and sat on the party's Ard Chomhairle
He is a keen supporter of Irish culture and his children are
being educated through Irish. In his Gaelic football-playing
days Philip won many honours including 2 All-Ireland Hogan Cup
medals, numerous Ulster and County medals.
Philip was elected to Ballymoney Council in 2001 with the
highest vote of any of the 16 elected councillors. He was
recently appointed the party's spokesperson on the issue of
Truth recovery and victims.
Philip is a hard working Councillor and as Sinn Fein's North
Antrim representative has been vocal in challenging political
and social inequality in this constituency.
Caitriona Ruane -- South Down
Caitriona Ruane is a deeply committed human rights and
community activist and is married with two daughters and lives
A fluent Spanish speaker, she worked for a US-based aid
foundation from 1983-87 in Central America. On her return to
Ireland she worked full-time for Trocaire before co-founding
the Centre for Research and Documentation, which studied
conflict resolution in South Africa and Central America and
hosted Nobel Peace Prize winners (Rigoberta Menchu from
Guatemala and Jose Ramos Horta from East Timor) on a visit to
Ireland. Caitriona was an international observer for the first
free and fair elections in South Africa that saw Nelson
Mandela become President.
She was a member of the Committee on the Administration of
Justice and organised the Belfast Forum on Policing conference
in 1994. She has lobbied the UN and the EU on human rights in
the North and was involved in organising inquiries and
compiling reports into the deaths of Fergal Caraher (shot dead
by a British soldier) and Patrick Shanaghan (a victim of
collusion between loyalists and state forces).
From 1997-2001 Caitriona was the Director of Feile an Phobail
(the West Belfast Festival and Europe's biggest Community
Festival) and a founder of the St Patrick's Day Parade, during
which time she took unionists in the city hall to court on
grounds of funding discrimination.
In 2000 President Mary McAleese presented Caitriona with the
Aisling Person of the Year Award.
A Gaelgeoir and formerly a member of the Comhairle na
GaelscolaIochta executive (which promotes and develops Irish
language schools) Caitriona's two children (aged 11 and 7)
have attended an Irish language school in County Down since
they were three years of age.
More recently, Caitriona has been chairperson of the 'Bring
Them Home' campaign, working for the release of the three
Irish men imprisoned in Colombia on false charges. She has
travelled to Bogota on sixteen occasions, coordinating the
prisoners' legal teams in Ireland and Colombia and organising
international observers for the trial, which concluded in
Willie Clarke -- North Down
Councillor Willie Clarke, a native of Newcastle, is married to
Paula who has recently given birth to their daughter Tara. He
was elected to serve on Down District Council in 2001 when he
topped the poll. He is currently employed by an
environmental/conservation organisation which is working to
preserve the natural beauty of the Mourne Mountains.
Willie has held a number of key positions on Down District
Council. A representative on the ARC 21 Committee, he is part
of a group tasked with devising a strategy for waste
management in Down District which must meet European
Directives to reduce landfill sites. He is the Vice Chair of
the Cultural and Economic Development Committee and was
previously chairperson of Corporate Services. Part of his
remit was to serve on the NILGA executive that co-ordinates
environmental policy between the 26 councils in the north. He
believes a holistic approach to tourism must be developed on
an all Ireland basis
A committed environmental campaigner, Willie has played an
active role in the preservation of the Mournes and the
development of the region as part of an all Ireland tourist
destination. He sits on the project board of Down District
Council, which is promoting three capital projects for South
Down: The building of Council offices on the Downshire site in
Downpatrick, the construction of a new leisure complex for
Newcastle and the redevelopment of the central promenad
As a young adult himself, Willie is acutely aware of the
issues facing young people in Down District prioritising
issues such as the provision of better leisure facilities.
Recently he has spearheaded a local community initiative to
tackle the rise in drug abuse in Newcastle.
John O'Dowd -- Upper Bann
Chair of Upper Bann Sinn Fein and a member of the party's Six
County Executive, John is leader of the Sinn Fein group on
A diligent constituency worker he has a proven record of
representing the electorate on Craigavon Council. As well as
acting as a Council Account Scrutineer, Cllr. O'Dowd is a
member of the powerful Policy and Resources Committee and the
Development, the Environment and the Public Services Liaison
As a Councillor he sits on the Craigavon Local Strategy
Partnership body which is responsible for the distribution of
European peace money.
John is active in community politics as a board member of a
number of community projects, an advisor to the Community
Association and as a school Governor.
Francie Brolly -- East Derry
Francie has been a political activist for over thirty years.
He was a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement and was
present on Bloody Sunday. He was elected to Limavady Borough
Council in 2001.
He comes from a well-known Dungiven family.
Francie is a renowned musician who, with his wife Ann, has
played across the island of Ireland and beyond.
He is deeply involved with a number of cultural organisations
and has been active in the promotion of the Irish language. He
is a long-standing member of the GAA.
Geraldine Dougan -- Mid Ulster
Geraldine Dougan is a long time resident of Maghera, as well
as having to busy herself with the everyday requirements of
raising a family of 5 children aged between 9 and 15 is also
active in the campaign for pre-school education provision and
an avid GAA supporter. She is also a member of the Sinn Fein
Mid-Ulster Women's Forum.
Thomas Hugh O'Reilly -- Fermanagh/South Tyrone
A Councillor for the Erne East area, Thomas is a full-time
youth and community activist who has been particularly active
on the issue of youth service provision.
A member of the Western Education and Library Board he has
also been active in promoting the need for a particular focus
on tourism in Fermanagh.
Pat O'Rawe -- Newry/Armagh
A married mother of five children Pat first stood for election
in 2001 when she successfully contested the Armagh and City
District Council elections. She was elected as the first Sinn
Fein of Armagh in June.
She was a member of a key party delegation to Brussels earlier
this year to hold discussions with senior EU officials on Sinn
Fein's proposals for CAP reform.
A hard working party official and local Councillor Pat
currently acts as Personal Assistant to Newry/Armagh MLA Pat
Davy Hyland -- Newry/Armagh
Councillor Davy Hyland has just completed a very successful
year as Chairperson of Newry and Mourne District Council.
A local school teacher, he has topped the poll every time
since his election in 1993.Davy works closely with community
associations throughout the area and has campaigned tirelessly
for the retention of services at Daisy Hill hospital. He is
also leading the party's opposition to the introduction of