Currie, Austin

Austin Currie (1939-2021) politician and civil rights activist was born in Coalisland, Tyrone. He studied History and Politics at Queen's University, Belfast.

Austin Currie holds the unique position of serving as an elected politician in both Stormont and Dáil Éireann.

At 24, he was elected to Stormont as a Nationalist member for East Tyrone. In June 1968, he occupied a house in Caledon, Tyrone in protest over allocation discrimination by the local council. This led to him becoming one of the main organisers of the first Civil Rights march, from Coalisland to Dungannon on 24 August 1968. He co-founded the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970 alongside John Hume and Gerry Fitt. He was the chief whip of the SDLP from 1974 to 1979.

He became a Fine Gael TD for Dublin West in 1989, a position which he held until 2002. He served as Minister of State for Justice from 1994 to 1997. In 1990, he ran for the Irish presidency, coming third. He published an autobiography, 'All Hell Will Break Loose' (2004).