Since my days at Bangor Grammar I have always been interested in politics as I felt it was the way of helping the local community and getting rid of the injustices within Northern Ireland. In my late teens I became an active member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party and campaigned for social reform. With the decline of the NILP I joined the Alliance Party in 1975.
Over the next twenty years served the party in many different roles including:
- 1977-1979 Party Organiser for Mid Ulster
- 1979/80 Delegate to Atkins Conference
- 1981-1997 Councillor for North Down
- 1982 Candidate for Assembly (North Down)
- 1996 Candidate for Northern Ireland Forum (North Down)
- 1997 I left the Alliance party and in 1998 stood unsuccessfully in the Assembly Election as an independent.
- 2001 I was again returned as an (independent) councillor for Bangor West, topping the poll for the fourth successive election with 1871 votes (1.6 quotas)
- 2003 I again stood as an Independent for the Assembly increasing my share of the poll by 10% and finishing tenth out of 19 candidates on the first count.
- 2004 I joined the Green Party to highlight my increasing concern about environmental issues.
- 2005 I became the first Green Party representative to be elected to public office in Northern Ireland again topping the poll in Bangor West.
- 2007 I became the first ever Green Party MLA in Northern Ireland.
- 2011 I decided not to stand again for the Assembly but stood again as Independent for North Down council (Bangor West) and again topped poll with increased percentage vote.
2014 I decided not to stand for the new so called ‘Super Councils’ as I consistently opposed this reform and I believe will lead to a loss of local democracy, local accountability and increased politicisation.
In 2015 I stood down from local government after representing Bangor West for 34 years and topping the poll in seven elections.