Our History

A Liberal Students' Union In The 1960's?!
The Queen's University of Belfast and its Students' Union have not always been synomonous with Liberalism. However, that is not to say that Liberal values have never been present here. From around 1957 to 1979 there was a Liberal Association here (albeit just in name) and in 1965 Sheelagh Murnaghan was elected to the old Stormont Parliament from the Queen's University constituency under the banner of the Ulster Liberal Party, serving there until 1969.  News reports from around that time mention the QUB Liberal Society criticising the then Stormont Primeminister James Craig over his decision to ban a civil rights march from the University to the City Hall. They also believed that the terrible events of Bloody Sunday would never have happened had the march there been permitted to go ahead peacefully. Further news stories tell how our predecessors called for British values to be applied in Northern Ireland in the protection of civil rights of Catholics - as the denial of these rights on religious grounds would never be tolerated anywhere else in the United Kingdom. And interestingly the Unionists at the time called the Liberals a part of "the greatest mixture of discontent and trouble-makers possible" - something which could still apply today!
The early 70's saw the quick demise of Liberalism all over the province not least at Queen's. The Liberal Democrats set up a student association here in the past as well but the society has become defunct for various reasons. The Alliance Party has a branch here which has been dormant for a few years. There are plans to revitalise it, and we will certainly be glad to have the opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals in the Students' Union.

The Liberal Society: A Realistic Possibility?
It would appear that there has been alot going against the formation of a new Liberal society. Most students at Queen's nowadays have been accused of being apathetic to politics, and only appear to express mild interest on matters which incite them to support their Unionist/Republican upbringing. However, the current political climate in Northern Ireland is one of progress and a willingness to compromise - the perfect setting for a revival of pro-liberal attitudes. Whilst we found it difficult to initially gain interest in the Society, this year has proven that there are many liberally-minded individuals out there.

The Founding Of The Society
There is a serious void in the politics of Northern Ireland, and therefore at Queen's, in that there are no truly Liberal political organisations pressing for a Liberal future. Brian Lacey and Tadhg Morgan realised this and decided to work together to promote peace, tolerance, individualism and constructive reform throughout the student body. Whilst the idea for the society had been in existance since May 1998, it wasn't until November that year that things actually got off the ground and a proper constitution was written with a list of aims and objectives.
At the February 1999 Council meeting the Liberal Society was on the agenda to be recognised but was postponed by the unofficial majority faction because Sinn Fein Cumann and the Progressive Unionist Association were also seeking recognition. It wasn't until April 1999 that the Society was officially recognised as a true Queen's students' society. The inaugural (and Annual Business) meeting was held on the 20th May, at which the first Officers and policies were determined.

Our Achievements
The Society has from 1999 - 2002: