Seamus Mallon in tribute to pioneering barrister McCann
Seamus Mallon, the former SDLP leader and Deputy First Minister, has led tributes to the barrister Stephen McCann.
The criminal lawyer, who as a young man canvassed for Mr Mallon, died suddenly last week at his Dublin home aged 46.
Mr McCann was one of a handful of Irish lawyers who pioneered a series of cases in the late 1990s challenging the State's provisions for children in care.
Last night Mr Mallon said Mr McCann was a person of tremendous character and ability who "knew the value of life and knew the value of peace".
"His sudden death is something which should make us all remember a person of great integrity and ability," added Mr Mallon.
Seamus Dooley, Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said "Stephen was a talented and erudite barrister", and had a "passionate devotion to the peace process".
Mr McCann is survived by his mother Deirdre, his brother, Vincent and sisters Eleanor and Elizabeth. He will be buried today following a funeral Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.