Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Kevin Boyle -Tributes to champion of civil rights movement

Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the late Professor Kevin Boyle, saying he had shown 'courageous leadership'

Tributes have been paid to one of the founders of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, Professor Kevin Boyle, who has died.

Professor Boyle, originally from Newry in Co Down, helped set up the movement that sought to force peaceful change in the 1960s by pressing for an end to anti-Catholic discrimination in the region.

The president of the Labour Party in the Republic, Michael D Higgins, said his efforts, plus additional work in the field of human rights across Ireland and overseas, represented a major contribution.

“I heard with great sadness of the passing of Kevin Boyle, whose courageous leadership in the human rights movement has placed so many in Ireland in his debt,” he said.

“Kevin Boyle was a champion of civil and human rights for more than 40 years. He was one of the inspirational figures behind the original civil rights movement which sought progress and democratic reform in Northern Ireland through peaceful means.”

Professor Boyle studied at Queen's University Belfast where he was involved in the People's Democracy group and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

He later served as founding director of the Irish centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIIG), and advised Mary Robinson when she was UN High Commission for Human Rights. Professor Boyle, understood to have died on December 26, was also a director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex.

Mr Higgins added: “Those who knew him personally will feel the loss of a warm friend.”

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