David Ford said: “I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Eddie McGrady, who fought hard to bring an end to violence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The well-known MP was a fierce critic of those who used violence and murder as a means to delivering their political objectives.
“As a Councillor, MLA and then MP for South Down, Mr McGrady worked hard for all his constituents. His tireless work went a great way to calming tensions in the area, helping create the more stable, peaceful Northern Ireland we have all experienced in recent years.
“His contribution to Northern Ireland politics has been great, both as a campaigner for peace and the desire to make a difference to the lives of those he represented.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the extended McGrady family and surrounding circle at this sad time.”