Northern Ireland news

President Michael D Higgins' emotional tribute to Ivan Cooper

President Michael D Higgins is greeted on the street as he leaves the Derry Civil Rights Festival at the Guildhall in the city on Saturday. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

In a poignant presentation, Irish president, Michael D Higgins paid an emotional tribute to former civil rights leader, Ivan Cooper.

The Irish president stood with the audience at Derry’s Guildhall and applauded Mr Cooper, a founding member of the SDLP and a leading figure in the 1960s civil rights’ movement.

Earlier in his keynote address, President Higgins singled Mr Cooper out for particular tribute.

He said: “May I add my own thanks to Ivan, as President of Ireland, for the courage, the leadership and the dedication to the cause of justice – just in all its forms – that he has demonstrated throughout his political career.”

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Following the presentation of a civil rights’ award to Mr Cooper, the president’s visit to Derry ended with a rendition of the civil rights’ anthem “We Shall Overcome” by Derry’s Colmcille Ladies’ Choir.

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