Patrick Roche (Northern Ireland politician)

Patrick J. "Paddy" Roche (born 1940) is a former Unionist politician in Northern Ireland.

Patrick Roche
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Lagan Valley
In office
25 June 1998  26 November 2003
Preceded byNew Creation
Succeeded byJeffrey Donaldson
Personal details
Political partyNorthern Ireland Unionist Party
Other political
UK Unionist Party (until 1999)
Alma materDurham University, Trinity College, Dublin

After working in banking, Roche studied economics and politics at Trinity College, Dublin. This was followed by political philosophy at the University of Durham, where he earned an MA in Social Sciences in 1972 as a member of the Graduate Society.[1] He then became a lecturer in economics at the University of Ulster, and in 1978 also took up a post at the Irish Baptist College. He wrote a number of books on politics and economics in Northern Ireland.[2]

Roche joined the UK Unionist Party (UKUP) and headed their list in South Belfast for the Northern Ireland Forum election in 1996, but was not elected.[3]

At the 1998 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Roche was elected in Lagan Valley.[2] With three of the other four UKUP members in the Assembly, he left in January 1999, disagreeing with leader Robert McCartney's policy of resigning from the Assembly should Sinn Féin become part of the power sharing executive. They formed the Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP),[4] and Roche became deputy leader.[5]

During his time in the Assembly, Roche proposed a motion on sectarianism. During the debate, he called Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly a convicted murderer. Kelly was convicted of conspiracy to cause an explosion in London in 1973, but not murder. He pointed this out, and when Roche refused to withdraw his comment, he was ordered to leave the chamber.[6] Roche did not contest his seat at the 2003 election, at which the NIUP lost all its seats.[5]