Fra McCann MLA
Fra Mc Cann grew up in the Falls Road area of West Belfast.
He was educated at St Comgalls Primary School on Divis Street and later at St Peters Secondary School off the Whiterock Road.
Fra was interned on the prison ship Maidstone from 14th February 1972 until 14th March 1972 when he was moved to Long Kesh internment camp.
He was released from Long Kesh on 9th May 1972 then rearrested in November 1972 and re-interned until December 1975. During this period of internment he was sentenced to 9 months for escaping from Long Kesh through a tunnel. During this escape IRA volunteer Hugh Coney was murdered by British soldiers.
Fra was arrested again in November 1976 and imprisoned in Crumlin Road prison where he spent 6 months on remand before being sentenced to 3 years. He joined the blanket protest in Crumlin Road Prison where he and his comrades were held in solitary confinement until August 1978 when they were moved to the H-Blocks in Long Kesh, joining hundreds more on the Blanket Protest. He was released on 22nd November 1979.
Upon his release Fra travelled throughout Ireland with other ex-prisoner's highlighting the inhumanity in the H -Blocks.He travelled throughout the USA in 1980 during which time he was arrested and spent 17 days in prison in New York. In 1981 he travelled to Canada where he helped form H-Block committees and raised awareness about the hunger strike.
On his return to Ireland he was elected to sit on the National H-Block Committee and spoke at many events in support of the hunger strike.
In the aftermath of the hunger strike Fra helped reorganise Sinn Fein in the Falls area.
He later chaired the west Belfast Comhairle Ceantair and also chaired the six county Cuige for 4 years from 1999 until 2003 during which he was a member of the Ard Comhairle.
Fra has been involved in many community organisations. He was secretary of the Divis Residents Association who fought a successful campaign to have the Divis complex demolished and replaced with decent housing. He was a founding member of the Falls Forum which represented people from the St James to Castle Street Area and the Divis Joint Development Committee, an umbrella group which dealt with groups in the Falls area.
He is also a founding member of the West Belfast Partnership Board and the Greater Falls Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership Board and he is a member of the Maureen Sheehan Centre, a community health facility based in Albert Street in the Falls Area.
Fra was elected to Belfast City Council in 1987 and served as a councillor until 2010.
He was elected to the Assembly in 2003 and sits on the Committee for Social Development and the Committee for Regional Development.
Fra is also spokesperson on housing for Sinn Fein at the Assembly.
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