North Belfast - Gerry Kelly
Born in Belfast in 1953, Gerry is a leading member of the Sinn Féin negotiations team and party spokesperson on Policing and Criminal Justice. He has been to the forefront in encouraging dialogue and bringing forward solutions to the problem of attacks at Interface areas.
In promoting the Peace Process he has been involved in talks with Nelson Mandela, the current South African President Thabo Mbeki, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He has been to the forefront in securing economic investment for North Belfast and is working to achieve a resolution to the area's housing crisis.
He first became involved in politics during the civil rights campaign of the late sixties. He was imprisoned in England in the mid 1970s and was force fed while on a 60 day hunger strike campaigning for repatriation to the north. He was transferred in 1976. He escaped from the H-Blocks in 1983 during the mass escape of 38 Prisoners of War. He was recaptured in Amsterdam three years later and extradited following a lengthy court battle.
Since his release from prison in 1989, he has been an enthusiastic and energetic Sinn Féin activist, playing a central role in the establishment of the Peace Process. Along with Martin McGuinness he took part in protracted secret negotiations with representatives of the British government from 1990 until 1993. All of these meetings are documented in the Sinn Féin booklet "Setting the Record Straight".
He has travelled extensively for the party including visits to the United States and South Africa. He published a collection of poetry entitled 'Words from a Cell' in March 1989.
He is a member of the party's Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) and is a Sinn Féin Assembly Member for North Belfast. He was a member of the Social Development Committee in the Assembly.