Ernest Baird

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Ernest Baird (1930 – September 2003) was a politician in Northern Ireland. Baird was born in County Donegal in the Irish Free State but moved with his family to Belfast at an early age. [1]

A pharmacist and political unionist, Baird became the deputy leader of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party. He was elected at the 1973 Northern Ireland Assembly election for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and won a seat in the same constituency on the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention.

When William Craig, the leader of Vanguard, proposed forming a coalition government with the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party, Baird led the majority of Vanguard in leaving to form the United Ulster Unionist Movement.

Baird became the leader of the new grouping, which initially pursued a policy of uniting all unionist groups to form a new party. When this proved impossible, it instead constituted itself as the United Ulster Unionist Party (UUUP), again with Baird as leader. He then became a key member of the United Unionist Action Council

Baird stood for the UUUP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone at the 1979 general election, but won only 17% of the vote, taking fourth position in the poll. At the 1982 Northern Ireland Assembly election, he fared even less well, taking only 2,022 first preference votes.

Some time after this poor performance, the UUUP was dissolved. Baird then confined his politics to the Orange Order, while building up his "Baird's Chemists" chain.


Northern Ireland Assembly (1973)
New assembly Assembly Member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone
Assembly abolished
Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention
New convention Member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone
Convention dissolved
Political offices
Preceded by
Austin Ardill
Martin Smyth
Deputy Leader of the Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party
With: Lindsay Smyth
Succeeded by
Glenn Barr
David Trimble
New political party Leader of the United Ulster Unionist Party
Position abolished