TRIBUTES have been paid to former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon at the monthly meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The former deputy leader of the SDLP passed away at the end of January.
Ballymena SDLP Councillor Eugene Reid said: “I pass on my personal sympathy to Seamus’ family and close friends.
“People from every walk of life have made clear their sadness at the loss what can only be described as a true giant of Irish politics.
“Seamus, was rightly famous for his strength of character, courage and tenacity, a conviction politician, driven by a passionate commitment to make politics work to deliver for everyone.
“He wanted a new Ireland based on the principles of equality, justice and partnership. Completely opposed to violence from all sides and as a result a target himself, he nonetheless made it his political life’s work to deliver the Good Friday Agreement and as Deputy First Minister he showed determination to make the institutions that flowed from that agreement work for everyone living in what he referred to in the title of his biography as ‘A Shared Home Place’.
“Before he died, he was buoyed by the news that those institutions were back up and running again.
“I think it would be a true recognition of the sweat spilled by Seamus Mallon that this generation of politicians do everything in their power to ensure that those institutions deliver for everyone in this Shared Home Place.”
Mayor Maureen Morrow said she was saddened to hear of Mr Mallon’s passing.
She said Mr Mallon was “very well respected” in public life during his long career.
She added: “In the many warm tributes paid to Mr Mallon it has been widely recognised that he made a huge contribution to political life in Northern Ireland and in particular the negotiations of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
“On behalf of Council I would extend our thoughts and prayers to Mr Mallon’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time.”
The Mayor also passed on her condolences to the family of May Steele, MBE, JP, who had been the Ulster Unionist Party’s honorary President May Steele who has died at the age of 83.
Mrs Steele had lived in Islandmagee.
Councillors then stood for a Minute’s Silence.