THE FORMER DEPUTY first minister of Northern Ireland and civil rights campaigner Seamus Mallon has died.
The former deputy leader of the SDLP was 83.
In a statement, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Ireland has lost “one of its most fierce champions for justice, equality and peace”.
Mallon was a campaigner during the civil rights movement and the SDLP in the 1960s and would play a key role in the peace process culminating with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
He served in the role of deputy first minister in the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive alongside Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble who held the role of first minister from 1998 to 2001.
Eastwood described Mallon this evening as a “force of nature”.
“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,” he said.
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.