Sam Kyle

Sam Kyle (1884 – 1962) was an Irish trade unionist and politician.

Born into a Protestant family in Belfast, Kyle joined the Independent Labour Party.[1] He became active in the Workers' Union, eventually becoming a full-time organiser for the union.[2] At the 1918 general election,[3] he stood in Belfast Shankill for the Belfast Labour Representation Committee.[4] While unsuccessful, he was a prominent figure in the 1919 Belfast strike, and gained election to Belfast City Council in 1920.[1]

The Labour Representation Committee became the main section of the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP), and Kyle was elected for the party at the 1925 Northern Ireland general election, to represent Belfast North, standing in opposition to partition. For the next four years, he acted as the leader of the NILP, pursuing a policy of working with sympathetic Nationalist Party MPs, and the independent Unionists Tommy Henderson and James Woods Gyle, to oppose the Ulster Unionist Party. After Nationalist Joe Devlin was suspended from the Parliament for attacking the Unionist Party as "villains, bullies, conspirators and ruffians", he led the NILP in joining with the Nationalists and two independent Unionist MPs in walking out, earning them suspensions from the body.[1]

Following the restructuring of constituencies, Kyle stood in Belfast Oldpark in 1929, but was unsuccessful, losing by just 189 votes.[1]

In 1932, Kyle became the Irish secretary of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union and moved to Dublin. In 1940, he was the President of the Irish Trades Union Congress. In 1943, he was elected on the Labour Panel,[5] and sat as an Irish Labour Party member of the Irish Senate, and re-elected in 1944 serving for five years in total.[1]


  1. Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland: The Orange State
  2. Hyman, Richard (1971). The Workers' Union. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 167.
  3. Sam Kyle Election History - Belfast Shankil 1918,
  4. Northern Ireland Parliamentary Elections Results: Biographies
  5. "Sam Kyle". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
Lloyd Campbell
Samuel McGuffin
William Grant
Robert McKeown
Member of Parliament for Belfast North
With: Lloyd Campbell
William Grant
Tommy Henderson
Constituency abolished
Party political offices
New office Chair of the Northern Ireland Labour Party
Succeeded by
William McMullen
New office Leader of the Northern Ireland Labour Party at Stormont
Succeeded by
Jack Beattie
Trade union offices
Preceded by
George Gillespie
Irish Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
Succeeded by
Norman Kennedy
Preceded by
P. T. Daly
President of the Irish Trade Union Congress
Succeeded by
William X. O'Brien
Preceded by
James Larkin Jnr
President of the Irish Trade Union Congress
Succeeded by
Helen Chenevix
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