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By Alana Fearon, North Belfast News, 22 December 2007

After a very tough but rewarding two years with his head back in the books, North Belfast MLA, Alban Maginness has graduated from Queens’ University with a Masters in Human Rights Law.

Although the SDLP representative has no immediate plans for further study, he hopes his achievement will send out a clear message that “you’re never too old to study” and encourage more adults back into education.

It may seem only natural for a solicitor to further his studies in law but it is his political career, not his legal practice, which Alban hopes to further with his most recent academic success.

As a member of the Forum for the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights and SDLP spokesperson for justice, Alban says his Masters will make him feel more competent in the political arena.

“As politicians we do a lot of talking about life-long learning, but we are slow to put that into practice”, he said.

“I won’t deny that my two years study was very tough but having finished I feel an enormous sense of achievement and am confident all I have learned will be of great value to my political career.”

“It is important for everyone to continually expand their mind and develop their knowledge but I just don’t feel this can be done through independent reading. You need the discipline of a structured course and I would encourage any adult who feels the urge to get straight back into books.”



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