Belfast Telegraph

Seamus Heaney: MPs sign up for motion paying tribute

By Catherine Wylie

The widow and daughter of Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, have been presented with a parliamentary motion about the poet, signed by 137 MPs.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan, who tabled the Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, said it was one of the most signed motions in this session.

It begins: ‘This House mourns the passing of Seamus Heaney.’

Among those who have signed it are Willie McCrea, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP, Alliance’s Naomi Long, SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell, former actress Glenda Jackson and former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy.

Mr Durkan said he was honoured to meet Heaney’s widow Marie and daughter Catherine, who graciously received the presentation version of the motion in the Speaker’s House.

“Marie and Catherine also met with MPs who signed the parliamentary motion — including current and former Northern Ireland Secretaries of State,” he said.

On Wednesday night, the life and work of the late poet were celebrated in A Tribute To Seamus Heaney at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

The evening opened with a recording of Heaney reading his famous poem, Digging.

A number of Heaney's contemporaries — including Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, Paul Muldoon, Michael Longley and Edna O'Brien — took to the stage to read some of his much-loved work.

In between, The Chieftains livened up the crowd with a few reels.

Edna O'Brien, famous for The Country Girls trilogy, said Heaney would have been thrilled with the event.

At the time of his death, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it would take Heaney himself to describe the depth of loss Ireland would feel over his death.

Heaney, originally from Co Londonderry, died in hospital in Dublin in August this year at 74.

Quotes

‘That this House mourns the passing of Seamus Heaney, great poet, most gentle man of deep humility, high honour and wide-smiled humour; whose cadent, lyrical, ethereal and earthed verse voiced a special spokesperson for the natured heart of humanity; whose warm, wise way epitomised a soul-uncle for all touched by his charming presence or reached by his stirring, stilling words, who had the grace of genius, and who showed the genius of grace.’|Early Day Motion for Seamus Heaney

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