Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has expressed his sympathies upon learning of the death of Gerry Fitt, former leader of the SDLP and Deputy First Minister in Executive of the previous Northern Ireland Assembly. Mr Ford cited the crucial role that Lord Fitt played in the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and in bringing together representatives from across the political spectrum.
David Ford said, “Gerry Fitt was a larger than life character, who played a very positive role in the life of Northern Ireland.
“He was on one of the few politicians who could attract votes right across the community.
“In the power-sharing Executive of 1974, his role was crucial in helping to bring people together. He suffered personally for his efforts at building reconciliation, which lead to his moving from Belfast. But he continued to play his part in promoting Northern Ireland, while serving in the House of Lords.
“Late last year, I had the pleasure of hosting Lord Fitt on a visit to the Northern Ireland Assembly. He recalled some of the work he had done during his time as a representative at Stormont. As ever, his presence in the Assembly attracted much happy attention, such is the respect and stature that people across the divide held for him.
“We all owe Gerry Fitt a great debt, and I extend the sympathy of the Alliance Party to his daughters and family circle.”