Business Irish

Sunday 21 October 2018

Where are they now: Austin Currie

Austin Currie
Austin Currie

Shane Ross

AUSTIN Currie, the former government minister -- North and South -- today lives in Kildare on seven acres. The move to the country marks a return to his rural roots -- he was reared on eight acres outside Dungannon.

Austin uses the land as a training track for three greyhounds which he shares with neighbour, Frank Moran. The dogs often feature at their local Newbridge track.

Currie's political pedigree makes him a sought-after speaker, lecturer and authority on the Troubles.

Last week alone he reviewed a book about Northern Ireland, spoke in a debate in Newry to commemorate the civil rights marches and addressed a meeting of the Dublin branch of the SDLP. This week he heads for Liverpool to the Institute of Irish Studies.

But life was once no picnic for the youngest MP ever elected to the old Stormont. During the assembly's long suspension he was reduced to the mercies of estate agency and business consultancy, before reappearing on the political scene.

He founded the SDLP with Gerry Fitt, John Hume et al. He was the originator of the civil rights marches and was a negotiator of the Sunningdale Agreement.

Austin narrowly escaped assassination but survived to win a seat for Fine Gael in 1989 before contesting the presidency against Mary Robinson in 1990.

He remains a member of both FG and the SDLP.

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