Northern Ireland’s outgoing police chief has paid tribute to the politician David Ervine at a special memorial event to the late PUP leader.
Sir Hugh Orde was the guest speaker at this year’s David Ervine Memorial Talk, which took place last night as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
Among those who attended the sold-out event were Mr Ervine’s widow Jeanette, as well as his successor as PUP leader Dawn Purvis.
Other guests included veteran republican Danny Morrison, as well as Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley.
Sir Hugh, who is due to step down as chief constable of the PSNI later this year, spoke at length about his first meetings with Mr Ervine and the contribution he had played towards building peace in Northern Ireland.
“David understood the complexity of the past and had a very clear view of dealing with the future,” he said.
“It was one in which violence played no part, but in which mutual respect existed between communities.”
Sir Hugh hit out at those responsible for the murders of a PSNI officer and two soldiers in March as a “poisonous little group of killers” and praised loyalist leaders for helping to prevent any retaliation.
He also talked of the challenges he had faced in his seven years at the helm of Northern Ireland’s police service.