Northern Ireland news

Former SDLP assembly member Donovan McClelland dies aged 69

EX-SPEAKER: Donovan McClelland died yesterday morning Picture: SDLP

THE SDLP has paid tribute to its former South Antrim assembly member Donovan McClelland, who has died aged 69 after an illness.

Mr McClelland, who also served as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, passed away yesterday morning.

The former councillor on Antrim Borough Council, he was also an SDLP delegate to the Brooke/Mayhew talks in 1992. His wife Noreen is a current SDLP councillor on Antrim and Newtownabbey borough council.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood last night paid tribute to Mr McClelland's "lasting legacy".

"I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Donovan's family and friends at this very sad time and particularly to his loving wife Noreen who has been a constant and caring companion throughout their lives," he said.

"Donovan was a man with a sharp mind and a warm heart who served people and party with distinction as a councillor, an MLA and as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.

"His contribution to peace on this island as an SDLP delegate to the Brooke/Mayhew talks and later in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement have left an indelible mark on our political dispensation.

"His was a life with a lasting legacy and one filled with love for his family."

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon also said Mr McClelland had made an impact on the lives of everyone who knew him.

"The contribution that he and his wife Noreen have made to peace and politics here cannot be overstated," he said.

"They have given up so much to help people and communities most in need."

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