Advertisement

Former Northern Ireland deputy first minister Seamus Mallon dies

The former deputy first minister for Northern Ireland Seamus Mallon has died. He was 83-years-old...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.32 24 Jan 2020


Share this article


Former Northern Ireland deputy...

Former Northern Ireland deputy first minister Seamus Mallon dies

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.32 24 Jan 2020


Share this article


The former deputy first minister for Northern Ireland Seamus Mallon has died.

He was 83-years-old.

His SDLP party announced the news in a statement on Friday.

Advertisement

Paying tribute, President Michael D Higgins said: "His reputation as a politician and community activist of unsurpassed courage, civility and fairness is held by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

"Few people have influenced the peace process in Northern Ireland more than Seamus Mallon, a formidable opponent and, a tough negotiator in speech and act, but always honest and honourable.

"He was a man who demonstrated integrity and courage in the face of opposition and threat, playing a vital role in building the peace process.

"He was instrumental in bringing into being a meaningful discourse that heralded a new possibility of civil rights within a shared island."

President Higgins added: "Seamus Mallon served with distinction in Westminster, Stormont and in the Oireachtas as a member of Seanad Éireann and his ability to build relationships in support of peace and reconciliation leaves a lasting legacy, not just in the North but across Ireland.

Seamus Mallon Seamus Mallon | Image via @columeastwood on Twitter

"I witnessed at first hand his deep commitment to seeing an end and a fair representation of the troubles in Northern Ireland and I am honoured to share the Freedom of Drogheda with him.

"A person of deep humility in the little things as well as the major issues, Sabina and I have been fortunate to meet Seamus on many occasions and we were always struck by his great sense of humour and warmth of character. His death leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill."

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he was "very sad" to learn of his passing.

"He has made an extraordinary contribution to politics and people on this island. He was tough, intelligent and passionate, always working for peace and reconciliation," he tweeted.

While SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Ireland had "lost one of its most fierce champions for justice, equality and peace".

He said that Mr Mallon's life's work "carved a pathway beyond our troubled past and gave us all the opportunity to build a shared home on our island".

"In the darkest days of conflict, when hope was in short supply, Seamus represented the fierce thirst for justice that ran through the SDLP and through communities that had lost so much to political violence.

"His passion for peace underpinned by truth, justice and reconciliation came from a lifetime as a proud son of Markethill where he was born, grew up and raised his own family.

"It didn’t matter who you were, where you worshipped or what your politics were, there was always help to be found at Seamus’ hearth."

He served as deputy leader of the SDLP from 1979 to 2001, and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001.

He was predeceased by his wife Gertrude and is survived by their daughter Orla and granddaughter Lara.


Share this article


Read more about

Colum Eastwood Deputy First Minister Michael D Higgins Northern Ireland SDLP Seamus Mallon Simon Coveney

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Best Of Newstalk

Best Of Newstalk

00:00-06:00

Share

Up next

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on