Home Biography of Brian Wilson

Biography of Brian Wilson

I  am a lifelong resident of Bangor and attended Trinity Primary School and Bangor Grammar School. My father owned a pharmacy on the Clandeboye Road for 30 years.

I am a former civil servant in the Department of Education and took a part-time degree at the Open University. In 1973 left the civil service to do a full-time Masters degree in Politics at the University of Strathclyde.

After I completed my Masters at Strathclyde I returned to Northern Ireland to take up a lecturing post in Omagh Technical College. In 1979 I transferred to the College of Business Studies, Belfast as a lecturer in government and economics. For the next 25 years I worked as a lecturer / senior lecturer at BIFHE.

In 1979 I married Anne (Councillor Anne Wilson) whom I met when studying in Scotland. We have two children Scott born in 1980 and Allan 1982 along with two children Roy and Caroline from Anne’s previous marriage.

I was a  councillor on North Down Council for 34 years (1981-2015) and have chaired most of the major committees.

I had the great honour of being Mayor of North Down in 1993/4. Ten years later, Anne was also elected as Mayor of North Down.


POLITICAL CAREER

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.


Alliance Party

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)

 Independent

  • 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.

 Green Party

  • 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.

 Independent

  • 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.


SERVICE ON OTHER PUBLIC BODIES

I have also served on many other public bodies including:

  • Member of the Eastern Health Board and Health council.

  • Chairman of North Down Hospitals Committee.

  • Member of Rathmore Board of Governors. (1981-2011)

  • Board of St. Columbanus College. (2005 – present)

  • Member of South Eastern Education and Library Board.

  • Member of North Down District Policing Partnership.

  • Governor of North Down and Ards Institute.


BRIAN WILSON FIRST GREEN PARTY (MLA)

MLA Green Party Northern Ireland MLA Brian WilsonThe March 2007 election to the Northern Ireland Assembly produced a massive shock when Brian Wilson the Green Party candidate was elected in North Down. Previously no Green Party Assembly candidate had even saved their deposit and Wilson had polled four times as many votes as the previous Green Party candidate.

On a closer analysis it was not so surprising as Wilson had been a North Down councillor for 26 years and had topped the poll in Bangor West at 5 successive elections.

First elected as an Alliance councillor in 1981 he later became an Independent campaigning strongly on environmental issues including the protection of the green belt and Bangor’s built heritage. He joined the Green Party in 2004 and again topped the poll in 2005 becoming the first elected Green Party councillor in Northern Ireland. (Two other Green Party councillors were also elected in South Down.)

Two years later he became the first Green Party MLA.

Councillor Brian Wilson comments:

“I was proud to be elected as the first Green Party MLA. It gave me a forum to raise environmental issues which had long concerned me but been largely ignored by the Assembly particularly planning, climate change, and animal welfare.

However more importantly it gave me an opportunity to establish the Green Party as a credible party, Before my election the party had no office, no paid staff and no profile. In setting up my office in Bangor I gave the party a public presence and I was able to appoint staff to help with constituents problems and Assembly debates.

I needed staff immediately and I appointed a party activist Steven Agnew as a temporary research assistant. He quickly grasped Assembly procedures and issues and after some months I gave him a full time contract.

Prior to the 2007 election I had promised the electorate of North Down and the Green party that I would only serve a single term.  I therefore had to ensure these gains were not lost and that the party would have a credible successor. Steven seemed the ideal candidate and over the next three years he was groomed as my replacement. This included his selection as Green Party candidate for the 2009 European election. He did extremely well and began to create a public profile. This was further enhanced in early 2011 when I stood aside and encouraged him to become party leader to increase his profile before the 2011 Assembly election.

Steven retained the North Down seat and in the local government elections held on the same day the party increased its vote and elected three councillors. It was clear that the Green Party is now an established part of the political scene in Northern Ireland.

I feel I have achieved my main objectives to establish the Green Party as a credible part of the political establishment in Northern Ireland and promote green issues to the political arena. I was therefore extremely disappointed that there is no reference to the role I played in establishing the party including the £20,000 I gave to fund elections and pay staff on the GPNI web site. It would appear from the site that the party suddenly started in 2011.

I am proud to have been the first Green Party MLA. I believe I served my constituents well raising issues particularly relating to the environment which prior to my election had not been raised. I was delighted to invite many of my constituents to Stormont to see democracy at work. There have been disappointments particularly with the lack of support for my banning fox / stag hunting bill and the introduction of planning changes which will destroy our countryside.

It was a interesting experience having previously been a lecturer on government it was fascinating and somewhat surprising to see how it the Assembly operated in practice.


MY VIDEO PROFILE

Feel free to watch my video profile (2007) to find out more about me and what I stand for.


Contact:

Councillor Brian Wilson,

1 Innisfayle Drive, Bangor, BT191DN

Tel: (028)91455189