Former SDLP MLA PJ Bradley dies - tributes paid to 'gentleman and fearless peace advocate'
The former SDLP South Down MLA PJ Bradley has died.
Mr Bradley was an MLA from 1998 until 2011 and previously served on Newry and Mourne District council.
He died following a short illness. He was 76 years old.
Tributes have been paid to the veteran politician.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he would be deeply missed saying his support for peace distinguished him as a patriot.
“It is with the deepest sadness that I learned of the death of our friend and colleague PJ Bradley this morning," he said.
“Politics was in PJ’s blood. A fierce advocate for his local community in Burren and for all communities across South Down, his compassionate and considered way will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
"PJ’s contribution to Ireland and his life long work across the island to develop and support the peace process distinguishes him as a patriot.
“I also want to send my deepest condolences to PJ’s family, especially his daughter Sinead who has taken up her father’s mantle as a champion for the people of South Down. This is a sad day for the SDLP but I know our members in South Down and the entire community will be a pillar of strength for Sinead and her family at this difficult time."
Sorry to hear about the death of PJ Bradley. He was always a gentleman. My thoughts are with the family at this time.— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) March 1, 2017
Former MLA Dominic Bradley said: "He had a deep love of his local place, Burren, and of his country and all its people.
"PJ was a fearless advocate of peaceful politics who never bowed to intimidation or threat. His many friends across this island and further afield will be saddened by his passing but will recall with fondness his bright personality and infectious humour.
"Deepest sympathy to his wife, Leontia, and all his family members."
Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell added: "Sad on hearing of the death of friend and colleague PJ Bradley... May he rest in peace."
Alson on Twitter, Margaret Ritchie added: "Deepest sympathies 2 Sinead & Bradley family on the passing of her father PJ who was a former fellow MLA with me in SD. Political stalwart."
The DUP's Jim Wells said: "I clashed with PJ many times in the local press but we remained friends throughout it all. Thoughts with Sinead during such a difficult time."
Mr Bradley's daughter Sinead was elected to the Assembly in 2016 and is standing for election for Thursday's vote.
Saddened to learn of the death of PJ Bradley who was a very fine public representative. My sincere sympathy to his wife and family— Danny Kennedy (@DKennedy_UUP) March 1, 2017
Sinn Fein's Caitriona Ruane also expressed her condolences.
"I was saddened to hear of the death of former South Down MLA, PJ Bradley," she said.
"I worked with him in the Assembly over a number of terms and he was a dedicated representative and advocate for South Down.
"I want to express my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this sad time."