Northern Ireland news

Service of thanksgiving held to celebrate life of former Co Antrim surgeon who became member of Republic's Senate

Dr John Robb was remembered in a service of thanksgiving held on Saturday in Portrush
John Monaghan

A SERVICE of thanksgiving has been held in Co Antrim for a former surgeon turned Senator.

Dr John Robb, who was in his mid-80s, died on Wednesday at a care home in Portstewart, Co Derry.

A service to celebrate his life took place on Saturday afternoon in Ballywillan Presbyterian Church in Portrush, Co Antrim.

Raised in Ballymoney, he worked as a surgeon in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast throughout some of the worst days of The Troubles.

The experience of treating victims greatly influenced his political thinking, and he formed the New Ireland Group, which aims to achieve a "New Vision of Ireland through confidence building, consensus and peace".

One of the few northern Protestants to ever sit in the Seanad, Dr Robb served three consecutive terms from 1982 to 1989, having initially been appointed by taoiseach Charlie Haughey.

He also served on the Senate of Queen's University Belfast for several years.

In a Facebook post, former Irish News political correspondent William Graham described Dr Robb as a man "of great vision and compassion" and added that "we will not see his like again".

President Michael D Higgins described Dr Robb as a "voice for peace and reconciliation" who was an "all-islander in the best sense".

Dr Robb is survived by his wife Sylvia, four children and six grandchildren.

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