The Lord Alderdice Page

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Recently, I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with The Lord Alderdice.  He was gracious enough to supply me with the information and pictures contained on these pages.  The Lord Alderdice, or John, as he likes to be called by his 'cousins', has been a focal point in the peace process in Northern Ireland for quite some time now.  He seems to be a very kind man with an unwavering desire for peace in his homeland.  Below is some information that he gave me in our emails concerning his official title and the peerage.  Enjoy!

-Jim Allerdice


The Lord Alderdice of Knock FRPCI FRCPsych MLA

Born in Northern Ireland, 28 March 1955, John Thomas Alderdice, eldest son of Rev David Alderdice and Helena Alderdice (nee Shields). Educated at Donaghcloney Primary School, Strandtown Primary School in Belfast, and Ballymena Academy, where he was Deputy Head Boy. He went up to The Queen's University of Belfast in 1973, to read medicine and graduated MB, BCh, BAO in 1978. Qualified as a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych) in 1983, followed by higher specialist training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. In January 1988 appointed by the Eastern Health and Social Services Board as Ireland's first Consultant Psychotherapist. From 1991 to 1999 an Honorary Lecturer (subsequently Senior Lecturer) in the Faculty of Medicine, The Queen's University of Belfast, teaching Psychotherapy. Also in 1991 appointed the first Director of the Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations, a position he held until October 1994. He became widely known for his lectures, broadcasts and publications on mental health, and from 1993 to 1997 was also Executive Medical Director of South and East Belfast Health & Social Services Trust, one of Northern Ireland's largest health and social care providers. In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. In 1999 appointed Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of San Marcos, Lima.

Joined the Alliance Party in 1978. In 1984 was elected to its Executive Committee, in 1985 elected Chairman of the Policy Committee, and in March 1987 Vice-Chairman of the Party. In October 1987, elected Alliance Party Leader, and in June 1989 elected to Belfast City Council, topping the poll in the Victoria Area of East Belfast. In 1993 re-elected to Belfast City Council with the largest vote of any candidate in Northern Ireland in that election. During this Council term (1993-97) he was also a member of the Belfast Education and Library Board, and a Trustee of the Ulster Museum.

From 1991 to 1998 led the Alliance delegations at the various Inter-Party and Inter-Governmental Talks on the future of Northern Ireland. In 1996 elected to the new Northern Ireland Forum, leading the Alliance delegation there, and in the Multi-party Talks chaired by Senator George Mitchell. Raised to the peerage as Baron Alderdice in October 1996, and took his seat in the House of Lords on 5 November, one of the youngest ever Life Peers. He played a significant role in the Irish Peace Process, being one of the key negotiators of the Belfast Agreement signed on Good Friday 1998. (He had, in 1994, after the cease-fires, led Alliance into the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, established by the Irish Government at Dublin Castle. This was particularly significant since Alliance was the only non-nationalist party there. He had also become the first non-nationalist party leader to attend the White House for the annual St Patrick's Day celebrations in 1995, and since then has continued, in frequent visits to Washington, to contribute to US/NI relationships.)

A committed internationalist, he was elected an Executive Member of the Federation of European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Parties in 1987, and served continuously through July 1995 when the Congress of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party elected him Treasurer and a member of its eight strong Bureau. In 1999 he was elected Vice-President of ELDR. In 1992, he was elected a Vice-President of Liberal International, and in 1996 a member of the Bureau of LI.

In 1998 he was elected a member for Belfast East, in the new Northern Ireland Assembly. He stood down as Alliance Leader after 11 years in the position, and was appointed first Speaker of the new Assembly.

His contribution to peace has been recognized through a number of international awards, including Honorary Citizenship of the City of Baltimore (1991), Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (1997), W A Harriman Award for Democracy (Washington 1998), John F Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award (1998), Silver Medal of the Congress of Peru (1999), Medal of Honour of the College of Medicine of Peru (1999) etc.

Outside of psychiatry and politics Lord Alderdice has travelled widely through his involvement in national and international religious organizations. He helped to found a number of Northern Ireland charities and professional organizations, and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. A keen amateur musician he sang for some years as a baritone soloist and chorister. His wife, Joan, is a Consultant Pathologist at the Antrim Area Hospital, and they have three children, Stephen, Peter and Anna.


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Last updated: March 08, 2014