Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Election profile: Steven Agnew, leader Green Party in Northern Ireland

Steven Agnew
Image caption Steven Agnew, who leads the Green Party, has been in a band and a film

Steven Agnew is the youngest party leader in Northern Ireland.

He joined the party in 2003 during its campaign against the Iraq invasion. He has also appeared as a singer for a band called The Killing Spree.

Mr Agnew has led the Green Party in Northern Ireland since 2011 and is an assembly member for North Down.

Born in Dundonald in 1979, he studied philosophy at university but said he was turned off by a "negative political landscape" in Northern Ireland.

He joined the Greens in 2003 after meeting the then leader John Barry at a protest march against the Iraq invasion.

Writing on his website, he said: "I was passionate about social justice but I did not see politicians in Northern Ireland representing my views.

"I was not interested in the battle between unionism and nationalism which only served to divide our society."

He unsuccessfully contested the Northern Ireland Assembly election in 2007, in East Belfast, where he took 2.2% of the vote.

First seat

However, it was a breakthrough election for the party in Northern Ireland with Brian Wilson taking its first assembly seat in North Down.

Mr Agnew, who had previously worked with the homeless for five years, became Mr Wilson's research officer.

In 2009, Mr Agnew stood unsuccessfully for the Green Party in the European election and, a year later, he contested his first General Election, standing for North Down.

He was elected as an MLA for North Down in May 2011 and his first motion in the assembly was on fracking.

Recently, Mr Agnew tried to amend the controversial Welfare Reform Bill and joined with Sinn Féin and the SDLP in signing a petition of consent that meant the bill had to get cross-community support.

Key priorities

Green

Main pledges

  • Social and environmental justice
  • Grassroots democracy
  • No violence
  • Clean politics

Mr Agnew once said in a newspaper interview that he sits in the "naughty corner" in the assembly - a reference to his position on the backbenches with parties such as the TUV and UKIP.

A film buff, he has appeared in a movie called I Wanted to Talk to You Last Night, made by Belfast director Michael MacBroom, a personal friend.

Mr Agnew, who has been a vegetarian for more than 10 years, has been a member of Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth and is passionate about animal welfare issues.