Derry peacemaker Brendan Duddy dies aged 80
Brendan Duddy, who acted as an intermediary between the IRA and the British Government for more than 20 years, has died aged 80.
The Londonderry businessman, who played a key role during the peace process in Northern Ireland, passed away on Friday after a long illness, surrounded by his family.
He was taken to hospital earlier this week with what is believed to be pneumonia.
At the height of the conflict Brendan Duddy acted as a go between the Provisional IRA and the British government.
He was in regular contact with a senior British Intelligence agent, Michael Oatley, and relayed messages between the two sides even as the security situation deteriorated.
The back channel established by Oatley and Brendan Duddy lasted from the mid 1970s through to the IRA ceasefire of 1994.
In 1980 and 1981 Mr Duddy acted as intermediary during the hunger strikes, making handwritten notes of offer and counter-offer between the Government and the IRA.
Codenamed 'The Mountain Climber', he brought Martin McGuinness and Michael Oatley together face to face in a meeting in 1991 that later led to the development of the peace process.
Paying tribute on Twitter, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said Mr Duddy “played his part and will be fondly remembered”.
Former UUP MLA Danny Kennedy tweeted: "Sorry to learn of the death of Brendan Duddy. I served with him on the NIPB for a brief period. He was a fine and honourable man."