Funeral to take place of 'champion of reconciliation' Brendan Duddy
THE funeral will take place today of the Derry businessman hailed as a "tireless advocate" for peace over four decades.
Brendan Duddy died on Friday evening following a long illness aged 82.
He acted as a secret intermediary between the British government and the IRA leadership during the Troubles.
Mr Duddy was one of three contacts between the IRA and the Irish and British governments along with Irish News columnist Denis Bradley and fellow Derry businessman Noel Gallagher and is credited with helping to lay the groundwork for the IRA's 1994 ceasefire and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement.
He also played a major role during the 1981 hunger strikes, attempting to find a way to end the prison protest which he believed was causing irreparable damage to the political process.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described Mr Duddy as a "champion of reconciliation".
"Brendan was a tireless advocate for peace over four decades," he said adding: "He made a significant contribution to the development of the peace process and to the resolution of parading issues."
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Mr Duddy was one of the north's "silent peacemakers" whose life "changed this island's history".
“There's no doubt that the long road to peace would have been all the longer if not for the contribution of people like Brendan Duddy," he said.
The DUP leader Arlene Foster paid tribute on social media on learning of his death.
"Deepest sympathy to the Duddy family. They mourn a man who worked hard for a shared NI," she said.
Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 11.30am this morning at St Eugene's Cathedral followed by burial in the city cemetery.
He is survived by wife Margo, children Patricia, Lawrence, Paula, Brendan, Shauna and Tonya as well as 21 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.