Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon has died at the age of 83 in Co Armagh this afternoon. Mr Mallon played a key role in the peace process, culminating in the Good Friday Agreement. He then served as deputy first minister in the power-sharing administration with first minister David Trimble.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: “Seamus Mallon was an Irish patriot. He lived for our country and has left an indelible mark on the lives of everyone who enjoys the peace he helped forge…I’m proud to have called him a friend.”
Tánaiste Simon Coveney tweeted: “Very sad to learn of passing of the great Seamus Mallon. He has made an extraordinary contribution to politics & people on this island. He was tough, intelligent and passionate, always working for peace and reconciliation.
“My sincere condolences to his family and friends. RIP.”
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin said he was deeply saddened to learn of the death of “my friend and long time political hero”.
Mr Martin said: “Seamus was, by any credible measure, a truly great Irishman. In the difficult and complex history of Northern Ireland, there are very few political leaders who emerge with an unblemished record of service that stands up to detailed scrutiny. Seamus Mallon is one of them.
“Heedless to the threat to his life from all sides in the Northern conflict, he was fearless and ferocious in his opposition to violence and his commitment to building a shared society.”