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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Refused to be Members of the Second Dáil - J. M. Andrews

John Miller Andrews, as a young man,
with his parents and family,
including his brother Thomas

John Miller Andrews

John Miller Andrews, CH (17 July 1871 – 5 August 1956) was the second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Andrews was born in Comber, County Down, Ireland in 1871, the eldest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Thomas Andrews DL, flax spinner, and his wife Eliza Pirrie, sister of Viscount Pirrie.

He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and became a director of his family linen-bleaching company and of the Belfast Ropeworks, as well as a wealthy landowner. His brother, Thomas Andrews, was managing director of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast and died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912; another brother Sir James Andrews, 1st Baronet was Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

In 1902, he married Jessie (d. 1950), eldest daughter of Bolton stockbroker Joseph Ormrod at Rivington Unitarian Chapel, Rivington, near Chorley, Lancashire, England. They had one son and two daughters. His younger brother James married Jessie's sister.

Andrews served as a MP in the Northern Ireland Parliament from 1921 until 1953 (for County Down constituency from 1921-29 and for Mid-Down from 1929-1953). He was a founder member of the Ulster Unionist Labour Association, which he chaired, and was Minister of Labour from 1921 to 1937. He was Minister of Finance from 1937 to 1940, when on the death of Lord Craigavon, he became the second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

In 1943, backbench dissent forced him from office, to be replaced as Prime Minister by Basil Brooke, however he remained the recognised leader of the Party for a further three years. Five years later he became the Grand Master of the Orange Order. From 1949, he was the last parliamentary survivor of the original 1921 Northern Ireland Parliament, and as such was recognised as the Father of the House. He is the only Prime Minister of Northern Ireland not to have been elevated to the peerage.

Throughout his life he was deeply involved in the Orange Order and was grand master of County Down from 1941, grand master of Ireland (1948-1954). In 1949, he was appointed Imperial Grand Master of The Grand Orange Council of the World.

John Millar Andrews was a committed and active member of the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland. He regularly attended Sunday worship in the church built on land donated by his Great-grandfather (James Andrews) in his home town Comber. John Miller Andrews served on the Comber Congregational Committee from 1896 until his death in 1956 (holding the position of Chairman from 1935 onwards). He is buried in the small graveyard adjoining the Church.

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