A name from the past October 10, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Speaking directly after me was Mr James Kilfidder, the then member for North Down and the sole member of the Ulster Popular Unionist Party – a completely united one man parliamentary party. As is the tradition in the House of Commons, Jim described my speech in the most glowing terms – “A young Scottish lion was loose in the Commons tonight,” he proclaimed. “The prime minister had better heed the new voice of Scotland. ”
So impressed was I by this unexpected praise that afterwards I took him for a drink and, pulling his leg, told him that I was going to use a quote from Parnell, but dropped it when I saw he was about to speak. “Ah,” said Jim. “You needn’t have worried. I was educated at University College Dublin and anyway, Parnell was a good Protestant laid low by the machinations of the Catholic Church!”
Now I hadn’t thought about Kilfedder in ages, and I can’t find a photo online of him. I was a bit sceptical of his attending UCD, and according to wiki he didn’t, instead going to TCD. But he appears to have been an intriguing character – born in Leitrim, attending TCD and winding up a UUP and later UPUP (his own organisation really) MP. He was a proponent of devolution, hence the split with the then more integrationist UUP.
It appears – from various accounts – that he was gay but not out, and rather tragically:
On 20 March 1995, while travelling by train into London from Gatwick airport, Kilfedder died of a heart attack. This was the same day that the Belfast Telegraph carried a front page story saying that an Ulster MP had been targeted as one of twenty MPs invited by the LGBT rights organisation OutRage! in a letter to come out.