WARM tributes have been paid to the independent unionist politician David McClarty, who has passed away at the age of 63.
Mr. McClarty was one of the longest-serving members of the Stormont Assembly. He had originally been elected as an Ulster Unionist representative for East Londonderry in 1998, having already been a long-serving member of Coleraine Council. He had also served as a Deputy Speaker at Stormont between 2007 and 2011.
He was successfully re-elected in 2011 as an independent MLA after being deselected as a candidate by the Ulster Unionist Party.
The popular representative had been suffering from cancer for many months. His last appearance in the Stormont chamber was in July last year when he received an impromptu round of applause from fellow members.
Mr. McClarty was regarded as having been a principled politician whose brand of non-sectarian, pro-Union, politics earned him respect from politicians of all persuasions.
This was reflected in the many warm tributes which were paid following his death. First Minister Peter Robinson said: “David was a man of great decency, honour and integrity. He was a highly respected member of the Assembly and will be greatly missed.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also paid tribute: “David was a gentleman who was greatly respected by all. He was a very progressive politician who developed positive relationships with everyone he met.”
Tributes were also paid by all parties represented in the Assembly.
Mr. McClarty is survived by his wife Norma and sons Alan and Colin.
Hundreds of mourners attended the Funeral which was held on Tuesday (April 22). A Service was held in Killowen Parish Church in his home town of Coleraine with burial afterwards in Portstewart Cemetery. For full details of the Funeral arrangements, click here.
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