David Ervine: 1953 - 2007
Would you like to send a tribute?
Click here to leave messages and condolences, or to send us your photos.
I was saddened to hear of the death of David Ervine and send my condolences to his family. I was impressed with this man from first hearing about him in the mid nineties and especially after reading the book ‘Uncharted Waters’. Northern Ireland is a poorer land after his death, and I’m sad that there doesn’t seem to be anyone within Unionism with the same Charisma and intelligence to take his place. Unionist and Republican politicians alike would do well to learn from this mans courage and vision, even it was controversial at times.
Gary Robert Reynolds, Bergen, Norway
I met David at the beginning of December in the strangest circumstances ... I work as a long haul flight attendant for Air France on on this particular day I was working the flight from Paris to Caracas.
I hadn't had a chance to talk to many of the passengers, when after about 5 hours of flying, a man arrived in the galley and asked (with a very 'norn irn' accent!!) for a coffee ... I didn't react at first, but preparing the coffee, it suddenly dawned on me .. that mans from 'home'! There aren't many people with that accent on such a flight, so I decided to ask him where he was from, and explained that I was originally from Belfast but now living in France as married to a french man.
We amazed about what a small world it was, and had a bit of a chat about things back in Belfast. All this time I had no idea who I was talking to ... for me he was just a business man travelling. When we mentioned the incident with Michael Stone entering Stormont, which had happened the day before, he added that he had been there, because he was a politician! Well, in this sort of circumstance, ignorance is bliss!
I still didn't know who this man was at all, living out of the country for the last 18 years I have , I'm ashamed to say, totally lost touch with Northern Ireland politics. So for the remainder of the flight, we had a chat, and he even laughed at my imitation of Paisley and the 'irish Trolls'!!
Before leaving the plane in Caracas, David gave me his phone number, and told me to give him a ring next time I was over home with my family, and that he'd try to give us a visit of Stormont.
Well, I was home at Christmas, and didn't take the time to make that phone call between visits to family. Oh how I regret that now!
I was at the airport in Paris when I got a message on my mobile from home to say that David had passed away. I regret not having had another chance to talk to David, but I'm so glad that I did meet him, and I definately will always remember that friendly, laughing man, who made the flight pass so quickly.
As he walked out of the plane I turned to David and asked him face to face if he honestly thought there would ever be peace in Northern Ireland ... he turned to me and quietly said 'oh definately! You can be sure of that... believe me, love, I know what I'm talking about!'
Well, I do believe you David, and I hope that you will see peace in our country from wherever you are now...
Thankyou for that flight together. And may your family always be proud of the man you were.
Pamela Ferrier, Brittany, France
I always admired David Ervine. I am the grandson of Catholic immigrants from Ulster. My maternal grandparents were from Swatragh and Maghera in Co. Derry and my father's parents were from the Glenties and Ardara areas in County Donegal.
I am a staunch advocate of a united Ireland with Loyalists as an integral part of this and able to retain British citizenship if so desired. I have strong republican sympathies. However, I always respected David's pragmatic and realistic approach to a peaceful and just resolution of the Ulster conflict.
I think he was a man of peace, not a dreamy idealist but a man with a vision and a plan to make peace and justice a reality for people in all the communities of Ulster. I think he was a man of courage, risking death from the hands of traditional foes and enemies of his own tradition whom he threatened with his integrity.
I had often wanted to contact him and tell him of my respect for him. I would have liked to have met him. I feel a great sadness that I didn't contact him and didn't meet him in person. My condolences to his wife and family and friends.
I think David was a vessel of God's grace to show the possibilities for reconciliation. I think he was a special man, a man open to look at his life, reflect upon it and change, a man who could laugh at himself and yet be in dead earnest about his beliefs and hopes.
I am quite surprised at the sadness I feel but glad that I can have that feeling for a man who comes from a culture I thought I could never respect or admire. I am grateful for his life. Peace to him and to Ulster.
Joe Kennedy, Philadelphia, Pa.
David Ervine, was a true and "Honest" son of Ulster, who fought the Loyalist corner with truth and conviction, and without the dated retoric of Old Unionism, ..."Gone but not forgotten", God Bless.
G.Anderson, Kirkcaldy, Fife
We lived a couple of streets apart on the 'Albert', were mates in the same class and played together at Avoniel Primary. We played youth soccer together and were close friends as youngsters. Davy was a great guy: caring, courageous and a champion of the cause.
I hadn't seen him for years but I constantly read great articles about him in the 'Tele' and always asked my old man how 'big Ervine' was doing when I phoned home. This is a tragic lose to Northern Ireland. It seems that he had lots of admirers from both sides of the divide. I hope the people of the province can live 'Davy's Dream'.
Walter Donaldson, Johannesburg, South Africa
I am Catholic and was against David Ervine politically but I had great admiration for him. A genuine and sincere person. Deepest condolences to his family.
William McIntosh, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mr Ervine was an inspiration to all the people of Northern Ireland. I hope someone with as much patience and reasoning will step into his shoes and continue his work to bring equality and peace to everyone in Northern Ireland. to his family i pass on my thoughts and prayers and we will all remember him fondly.
Mrs Allen, east Belfast
This is a belated message from the Rice family in South Africa. We only returned from our hols and checked the BT website to catch-up on news from home and read the tragedy. David helped our mother (Mary) when our father (Bertie) was murdered. We personally didn’t have any contact with David but out of respect for our father’s relationship with David we send our condolences, thoughts and prayers to Jeanette and the Ervine family.
Bill Rice, Johannesburg, South Africa
I was deeply shocked and saddened by the death of David Ervine.
I was born and brought up in the Protestant/loyalist community, yet never in my adult life had I supported or voted for Unionist parties of any persuasion. I found them to be condescending,rabble rousing, fear mongering, conservative and intellectually insulting, and that's just to begin with.
Yet I am proud of my people and their struggle to rise above the vicious, dirty war which blighted this country for thirty years. David Ervine came across as a man who spoke from the heart. He was open to any opinion and argument.
A Unionist politician who wanted to say YES, in the bravest and most positive sense, as oppossed to the eternal NO NO NO of the DUP! Truly a man of the people, I considered him the most progressive, liberal, smart and sensitive Unionist MLA in Stormont.
He was a man apart.
Royce Harper, Belfast
I heard David Ervine speak on a number of occasions while I was a student at Queen’s in the late 1990s. I was very impressed with his new way of thinking about politics and his commitment to the peace process. My condolences to Jeanette and his family.
Catherine Hirst, Melbourne, Australia
I met David Ervine , many years ago at a Glentoran Supporters meeting , at the time I didn’t know his background, he was just a Glenman to me, but as he spoke at the meeting I quickly realized he was someone different, someone special. As he became better known for his politics, I still listened and was still impressed. Whenever I met him, whatever the political or personal difficulty he encountered at the time, all he wanted to talk about was his beloved Glentoran, to many he was David Ervine politician to me was big Davy the Glenman. To his family and friends I offer my sincerest sympathy
Sincerest sympathies to the Ervine family at this time. David's critical contributions to the peace process and Ulster politics will be long remembered. It is now up to his supporters in both communities to pick up his torch, join hands, and lead the way to the new rights and freedoms that he so staunchly articulated and envisioned! Ulster's children deserve nothing less
M.Anderson, Toronto, Canada
I would just like to pay my respects to the family of the late David Ervine - I never had the pleasure to meet him but from my own point off few and from the Catholic community,he will be a big loss to the people of Northern Ireland who want peace many will follow none will replace. May you rest in peace David, and may God give your family the strengh to go on.
I never had the privilege of meeting David Ervine, but living on the other side of the world and missing home (Northern Ireland) a lot, it was a big shock to hear that David Ervine had passed away.
My aunt worked very closely with David and had many interesting stories to tell about their personal friendship and working relationship in Northern Ireland Politics. Australians often ask me about the state of politics in Northern Ireland and I simply say the violence is all over, what's left are emotional scars and broken hearts to mend.
People, such as David, are the people that strive to heal those wounds and mend the broken hearts - they try to build new bridges between the divided ranges, they are ambassadors and healers for the families that have been affected.
Never having met him, but through TV interviews, newspaper articles and radio broadcasts I feel as if David was one of those pillars of the Northern Ireland Assembly that now make me proud to say to Australians that I am Northern Irish! Rest in Peace, Sympathies to the Ervine Family.
Marie McWilliams, Melbourne, Australia
David, I'm sorry to see you go. You are a good man, a humanitairan and someone who I can imagine would captivate both the hearts and minds of those you came into contact with. I'm not Northern Irish but I hope to God for the sake of that place, that someone of your ilk comes in great haste. God bless
Derek Walsh, Reading, England (originally from ROI)
A great voice for working class loyalism I just hope that all his hard work and dedication will not be in vein. As UUP members who were proud to have him on board our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them.
Pauline and Richard Dallas, Las Vegas, USA
May we never forget a man who gave so much for the love of Ulster, a man who was willing to put the past behind him, but learn from it. A man who when some in politics kept shouting “no surrender “ he lived it, not just talked it!
David took the fight to the enemy within and was willing to give his life for Ulster, yet was big enough and man enough to sit down with all kinds of people and talk with sense and honesty of a better way forward for all the people of Ulster. If all those in political life took a leaf from David's book of common sense then we could all move forward together in peace and mutual understanding.
To the people in power I say this “bury your stupid pride not each other, we have lost too many, don’t condemn another generation to what our generations have gone through”. To David's wife and family I send my deepest respects on your very sad loss.
To the PUP we have lost a great leader of our people, carry on the fight in his name, make Ulster a better land for all who live there and for all who love her, though far away. We have lost a loyal son, lest we forget.
Jim Little, Bristol, England
I remember calling the PUP office just a couple of days before the Agreement referendum about a business matter. To my surprise David answered the phone and we subsequently fell into a half hour conversation about the vote but also about family and friends. The man didn't know me from Adam, but at one of his busiest moments was willing to take the time to talk to a complete stranger. A true man of the people. His like will never pass our way again.
Gordon Magee, Philadelphia
Sincere condolences to his wife two sons and family.
Geo Greenock, Scotland.
Davy as I write this I am very sad. I know you will never be forgotten by all the decent thinking people in this wee corner of the world. Thanks for all the hard work you put in over the years. You were unique what will we do without you. God Bless.
Betty Thompson, Belfast
David kept his roots, and did not let them keep him from others. People who think we can’t change in Northern Ireland can learn from David Ervine. Christians who think paramilitaries can’t change, and that Christians don’t need to, have a lot to learn from him. David’s vision, passion and commitment have let us see a new Ulster, even a new Ireland. It is a vision we need now as much as ever.
We’ve lost David, but we can’t write off his vision, or his way of doing things. Heartfelt thanks to David for his belief in people, his passion, his generosity and humour. Thanks to Billy Hutchinson, and his other colleagues. Thanks especially to his family for sharing him with us.
The Scott family, Warrenpoint & Belfast
As a family friend of the Ervine's my sympathies and condolences go out to David's family. I attended Orangefield with David's eldest son Mark and came to know his family quite well, our families grew up together in East Belfast & we always looked out for each other & tried to lend a hand whenever we could. David was a kind and well liked person and personally went out of his way for my family on several occasions, he always found it hard to say no to someone. He will be sorely missed, not only as a politician, put as a great person. R.I.P. David
Rab Stewart, Canada
What a great loss to Northern Ireland and the political scene. A man who spoke clear and concise with a fervent desire to see the peace process in place
Leslie Hammond, Killinchy
The radio is on and the funeral is being reported on
Of a man who changed from shouting to talking
About reconciliation and dialogue
And his moustache reminded me of my own
Hiding the lip but not the words and his measured tone
Made a lot of sense.
His politics were not my politics but he seemed to know
What he was talking about
And if he was born a Republican
He would still have turned out the same,
A man who learned how to listen
He has gone before his maker and will argue for
The best seat in the house but that is his right
And if the good Lord is a fair Lord
He will discuss and agree.
So, enjoy the journey and your stay
With those who went before you
And though some died for the other side
I am sure they will open their hearts to you
And stretch their hands
Kieran Eager, Dublin
He was truly the man of the people able to bridge both communities RIP He will be missed
Tom, Seattle, Washington
David Ervine was a great man. He was someone who possesed humor, intelligence, courage, commitment, and compassion. I was lucky to know him.
John J. Cullinane, Boston, Ma., USA
I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Jeanette, Mark, Owen, David's brother Brian and all of the Ervine extended family. I am glad and indeed privileged to have known and been in David's company. Truly one of Ulster's devoted sons. I would also like to extend my sympathies to the Progressive Unionist Party.
Mervyn Stinson, Armagh
I did not know him, but like thousands of others, I feel I did. He is the sort of decent man from N.Ireland who represents the good folk of this country, who yearn for peace! God bless you David –you were special. May you have left a legacy for others to have the open and honest courage to follow.
A McBride, Belfast
An amazing atmosphere outside the church today. Amazing to see how many people from different backgrounds and persuasions came to pay respects to a 'leader' who did not seek personal fame, glory or reward but worked genuinely to see the fullness of beliefs established.
David was the best known of a group of other genuine citizens who want peace before personal gain. He was the best Unionist leader, the best example of a 'true' politician, the most respected politician in Northern Ireland with cross party & cross community support.
To kick a ball for your country is one thing, to spend your life dedicated to it is very much another. Let it not pass but remember this man who has achieved what we all talk about - true political cross community support. Simply amazing. Janette - you can be extremely proud of the sacrifices you made with David - this country owes you both a great deal. God Bless.
Deepest sympathy to Jeanette, Mark and Owen.
Jaska and Jari, Rovaniemi, Finland
David came across as a man of honesty, integrity and vision. People such as myself, who never knew him were moved by his sincerity. Surely Ulster's long and troubled past is approaching a new dawn. I hope David can bask in it's warmth from another place.
I admired his down to earth approach and honesty. Deepest sympathy to his wife and family.
Evelyn McAuley, Ballyclare
Like many people in N Ireland I felt a sadness at Davids passing though I did not know him personally. We have so few people that can cross the political and religious divide so easily as David did. Like the late great George Best he seems to have touched all who knew him friend and foe alike. He also learned that while may things are worth dying for nothing is worth killing for. RIP David
James Wilson, Belfast
Belfast and N.Ireland has lost a brave and courageous politician, what a tight-rope he must have had to walk, a true working class politician for all peoples in Belfast.
His class approach to real social politics have shone out like a beacon, a ray of hope. Whilst not being a unionist, I have for many years followed and admired his work, determination and dedication not only to his East Belfast constituents but to the whole of Belfast and N.Ireland.
A real break from the past, learnt from his own experiences. People and politics everywhere need more Davey Irvines in their communities, he was local, national and international in his outlook. Farewell and Rest in Peace.
Sincere condolences to his wife two sons and family.
Sean Kettle, Corby, England
David will be sorely missed by all traditions on the North. He was a true campaigner for peace and forward thinking and for just telling it like it was . He was entertaining and worth listening to with his unique use of the English language! Northern Ireland politics will be the poorer without him. God bless sleep in peace.
Mary Clare, Sweden
Unfortunely I did not have the pleasure to meet David but somehow I believe we had a good connection. This occurred to me when I viewed one of his press interviews located in his office. As he sat in his chair I observered a large picture in the back ground of the late Roy Suitters who was one my best friends.
This told me he had a good judge of character by bestowing the honour of having this picture in his office. Unknown to him I began to follow his political enderours and I started to do some research on his portfolio. This was a man who walked the walk and had the elegance to talk the talk on his own recognizance.
I want to thank him on behalf of all the people who now are beginning to reap the seeds he has sown to bring resolve to a historical conflict. The challenge of his moxie brought out his leadership qualities and he never looked back and matured with grace. To his immediate family I want to extent all our condolences for your personal loss of husband, father, and grandfather. To reside and rest in peace that was his objective.
Jim Patchett, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
As an exiled nationalist, while totally disagreeing with David Ervines early escapades I have to say that he impressed me in later years with his commitment to healing the wounds on both sides. his courage is missed already.
David was someone whom I admired greatly as a politician and also his commitment to the peace process. I don't think we can forget his huge contribution to the Good Friday Agreement. A brave man who stuck his neck out where others failed to do so. You will be sadly missed David.
The Officers, Management Committee, Members & Staff of East Belfast Working Men's Club would like to pass on their sincere sympathy to the Ervine Family at this time. Will be missed by all in East Belfast & beyond.
L McCabe, Secretary, East Belfast Working Mens Club, Belfast
I send my love to my aunty Jeanette Ervine and my cousins Mark and Owen. I had the pleasure of meeting my uncle David for the second time in my life a few months ago while holidaying in Northern Ireland with my dad, Mick Ervine, my step mother and my younger brother. I spent most of my time with my two cousins Mark and Owen when I wasn't at home with Uncle Dave. All of the family here in Australia are saddened about uncle David's passing and send our dearest love to the rest of his family.
Jack Ervine, 16 years old , Australia
Prayers go to David's family rest in peace David thank you for all you have done for Ulster you will be missed at the going down of the sun we will remember them
Archie Wilson, Scotland
Isn't it amazing the breath of support that this fine man has received - from ex-RUC, to INLA/IRA supporters and every shade of political belief and creed. So much respect. People touched by a simple vision of us all moving towards a better place. The path? Who knows but talk, discuss, agree or agree to disagree - but keep moving forward.
This is what David Ervine represented to me. I'm a nationalist, he's a loyalist but by and large he still represented my politics. A wave of emotion cascaded over me reading these tributes far away in Sydney, Australia. I was home in Mayo five months ago and travelling through Westport when I heard David on the radio. Talking about issues such as drugs and criminality, with a gusto, care and straightforwardness of a politician rarely found on our island.
He talked themes of universal concern and not just the narrow confines of allegiance. Not so much a breath but a gale of fresh air. His vigour in rep resenting the people of East Belfast for whom he had a great love was in fact a blessing for politics North and South.
He brought considered passion and uncomfortable yet liberating honesty back onto the political stage. His very essence proclaimed "I am a Loyalist and proud of it...now tell me why should that be a barrier to us getting on?" Indeed. It takes a brave man to raise his head above the parapet and say " accept who I am, I am not your enemy and I can be your friend". I truly hope that I one day soon hear the words of a person of a similar ilk beckon those who have or are yet to embrace change. It's a tough job but what a great legacy that would be.
My sincerest condolences to the Ervine family, immediate and extended. He was a husband and he was a Dad and I would think he was prouder of that than any of his contributions to the changes in politics he significantly contributed to. May his Soul Rest in Peace. Goodbye David Ervine. You live on in your legacy.
Peter Hannon, Sydney, Australia (from Mayo, Ireland)
My deepest condolences to the Ervine family and friends. My heart grieves also. My prayers and my thoughts, always.
I knew the Ervine family as I also lived in Chamberlain street my name was Betty Irvine , and I send my condolences to David's family. R.I.P. David.
Betty Sinclair , Melbourne, Australia.
Deepest sympathies to the Ervine family at this sad time. A bright , articulate, visionary working class Protestant politician, David will be sadly missed within unionist circles. Let his good work not be lost, grab the olive branch of peace and the opportunity of a lifetime. As David said in his article "Lets finish the job" R.I.P
It is with both honour and sadness that we write this in the loving memory of David Ervine. Words cannot express the loss us the loyalist community have felt at the sad untimely passing of David, a man that lived and breathed loyalism. A man that worked tirdlessly and endlessly to find a solution to the political stalemates and threats that faces our country.
Although David was simply irreplaceable with his character and charisma, His legacy will serve as a beacon in inspiring the people that he left behind in carring on his good work and ideologies. LEST WE FORGET Death You Did Not Fear, You Fought For All You Held Dear. Your Battles Over Lie At Rest, Ulster's Finest, Ulster's Best!
Evan and Ian Irwin from Pomeroy
As a guy who voted for David Ervine, Id like to extend my sympathies to his family & the PUP on their loss. I just got a new job on Monday, If it wernt for people like Mr Ervine, I would not have that job. He, along with others have created a climate in which it is safe for us to go about a normal life, thus improving our standard of living. Ireland needs more people like him, he will be hard to follow, but most of all, sadly missed by myself & many others.
DM Murphy, Belfast
He will be missed. A genuine man of the people.
Sam Millar, author
I feel in our loss of David Ervine we have truly lost a politician a rare breed in Northern Ireland. David was a man who had a political ethos firmly routed in socialist politics and was our hope for a battered people resilient enough to know quality when it presented itself, and it surely did in this man. Goodbye David, thanks.
Georgie McCormick, Belfast
Very very sad to hear the news about Mr Ervine ,R.I.P David
Ernie in Holland
I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the Ervine family. I only met David once when he kindly gave up his time to answer questions i had on a dissertation I was writing. As many have said before, listening to him was a breath of fresh air, no spin just the truth and put in the way only he could. I truly believe Unionism has lost it's only decent politician and the working class it's most eloquent voice. He was also probably the only politician who managed to transcend the divide which is probably the greatest tribute to him. I hope the legacy he has left can be continued.
L Collins, Manchester
I have always taken a keen interest in Northern Ireland politics as my late father was born in Strabane and brought up in Londonderry. Almost alone on the Loyalist and Unionist side of the divide David impressed me with his integrity,insight and vision of the future for the troubled province.David was a man of moral and physical courage and always appeared to be genuine whenever I saw him on TV,heard him on the radio,or read about him in the media.His genial personality and sense of humour did much to belie the notion that the Scots Ulster people are dour and only know the word "no" . I read the biography of David in one sitting immediately after buying it.I do hope that David's death will not harm the peace process that he did so much for.
I was really saddened by the death of David Irvine.N.I. have lost a true statesman.Long after many of the current politicans are dead and buried,David will alway be remembered as a beacon of light radiating common sense and courage.He will be missed. My sincerest sympathies to his family and friends.
Kevin Woods, Carlingford
Deepest sympathy to the family on the loss of David he will be missed by all the people who want peace in Northern Ireland.
Margaret Redpath, East Belfast
David Ervine was my favorite politician on earth, and indeed one of the few I could have voted for with any enthusiasm. His influence as a representative of working-class loyalism was able to reach me here in California, and he inspired me and gave me hope for humanity's future. That hope persists, and I'll not be surprised should Ulster's future meet and exceed the progressive vision that he had for it. His family have my deepest sympathies. It heartens me to see him celebrated so thoughtfully by so many.
Rowan, San Jose California
Your message: As a Dubliner I would never have made Belfast my home for the past ten years without people like David Ervine. I admired him greatly and even during some of Northern Ireland's bleakest times, his sincerity, courage, warmth and optimism shone through.
It is obvious from what I've read that David Ervine was firstly a family man, content and confident with who he was and where he came from. Not given to comparison or competition and with a unique spin-free manner of putting his point across with clarity which is rare in politics anywhere - hence the tremendous respect shown from across the community and from every shade of the political divide. The province has lost a stalwart. May I join with others in sending my heart felt sympathy and sincere condolences to his family.
My name is Damien Horgan , i am from Cork but presently teaching in South K orea..... I always liked David Ervine...I think Mo Mowlam once said he was her favourite politician...He always said it like he saw it and could be emotional from time to time..wonderful traits for a politician to have in this era of press secerataries and spin doctors..David was from Belfast but he would have made his mark anywhere; Dublin,London,New York,South Africa,Darfur,East Timor.......You know it is funny,when i saw David on T.V. and knowing he was the leader of the P.U.P.,i never once thought about his religion.I was brought up a Catholic and David was a Protestant but you would never know ..he was just a great person..a working class hero like my dad..bye David..thanks..
Damien Horgan, Cork
With deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Ervine family. NI has lost a great politician who gained respect on both sides of the community.
R McCauley, Co Antrim
I am very sorry to hear this sad news. David was known by all my family, especially my dad who is the same age. My prayers and condolences are reached to the family and i pray God will give you all the strength you need to get through this. I live in the middle east now and i am always saddened to hear news like this from home. The Lord is my Shepherd. With sincere condolences.
Michelle Down, United Arab Emirates
Your untimely death will be a great loss to all the people of Northern Ireland regardless of religion Deepest sympathy to the Ervine family circle forever in our thoughts.
David's big sister Pasty was married to my uncle David sadly both of them have passed away,with the grace of God hopefully they will be reunited in a better place. Our deepest sympathy's to all David's family and friends at home and over seas.
Irene and family
With deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Ervine family. Northern Ireland has lost a great politician who gained respect on both sides of the community.
R McCauley, Co Antrim
I am very sorry to hear this sad news. David was known by all my family, especially my dad who is the same age. My prayers and condolences are reached to the family and i pray God will give you all the strength you need to get through this. I live in the middle east now and i am always saddened to hear news like this from home. The Lord is my Shepherd.
Michelle Down, United Arab Emirates
A true spokesman for the working class and for peace. A gentleman and an antifascist too. So proud to have known you David. RIP
David was an old and much admired friend. We knew each other from primary school age. I moved to Orangefield secondary school but still kept in touch. I was a year older than David and he soon joined me in Orangefield school along with our other friend Johnny . We were known as the three muskateers and got up to the usual mischief at school but nothing too serious. We continued to be friends after leaving. We used to go to Misile with the wives and girlfriends in the back of his van. After playing football which the girls supported we all went to the first and last pub to queench the thirst then home .
Those were the days. Cup match days were in my house as we had a colour TV. Dont laugh these were not long out. The craic was good. Saturday football was another great pastime for us. Those were the days. Things got more serious here and we didnt see as much of each other. David took up politics and this took up a lot of his time along with his family.
We didnt see much of each other recently but anytime we did meet we would remember old times and ask after each others family. Well old friend you have moved on to a calmer place now but I wish you were still with us. You gave them all a run for their money. I hope they carry on your good work. A lasting peace would be a fitting tribute to one of the best friends and politicians this country will ever know. Goodbye old friend,till we meet again. Our sympathy goes to Jeanette sons Mark and Owen also the family circle.
Brian and Valerie Redpath, east Belfast
David, although I never knew you, as a child growing up in Northern Ireland at the end of the troubles, you made me proud to be a free thinking Protestant and able to stand on my own two feet in life. You had courage and conviction and forever your actions will be etched into the history of Northern Ireland. I for one seen your vision while living in Northern Ireland and I for one believe it will come to pass in. Rest in Peace.
Sam Gibney, Los Angeles
Our condolences to Ervine family circle. God be with you all at his time. Even over here David we heard to you. An honest voice of loyalism.
The Campbells, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
One of the very few politicians in Northern Ireland who actually spoke sense. His progressive views regarding unionism in the 21st Century will be sorely missed in the modern political arena. Our politicians owe it to Mr Ervine now to compromise and make his vision for Northern Ireland a reality.
David worked his way through the Troubles and became a distinctive force for good. When leadership was desperately needed, he was there with clarity and courage. He talked straight and would look you in the eye and tell you how it was on the streets then, and what the future might be if we could find a way to shed the shibboleths of the past. An enormous loss.
Bill O'Donnell Boston, MA, USA
Will be sadly missed by the people of Northern Ireland. A land that he loved so dearly, and did much to bring peace and stability to his native Ulster, putting himself in the front line of Ulster politics.
Eileen and Andy McL, Scotland
My sincere condolences to the whole Ervine family circle. David Ervine was the most important political figure on the non-Nationalist political side to emerge in the past 50 years. His death will exercise an enormous influence over the developments in Northern Ireland politics in the future years.
Roy Robertson (in a personal capacity), Chair, Falkirk West Branch, Falkirk Constituency Labour Party
I have long admired David Ervine as an honest, articulate and visionary representative of the working class. I am shocked and saddened by his passing. My condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.
Peter Gilmore, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Sadly again, when the Unionist people have a politician who not only has experienced the past but has a true vision for the future that includes every tradition, they are taken from us prematurely. I mourn you and the people of Belfast.
David Ramsay, Paisley
Condolences to Jeanette and David's extended family to learn of the loss of a wonderful father and husband and to all the unselfish service he devoted to the cause of Ulster in negotiating the peace process. David and I grew up together at school he was always the protector of us when we played soccer he stood head and shoulders above everybody else and still did until this fatal day. We have since moved to Sydney Australia and David has always greeted me at the Raven club and went out of his way to show me round Stormont among other kind gestures. David you will always be in our heart and God Bless you will never be forgotten.
Eddie Patterson, Sydney, Australia
Dear friends, please have a look at my special site for David. http://www.marcelmbaumann.de
For what David done in the early years and recent for Ulster may all the Ulstermen and women be thankful today we will remember you allways.
I am very saddened to here of the passing of David Ervine. A true believer in peace in Ireland. Very honest about his intentions of whole process we are all hoping that who ever follows in his footsteps can keep his tireless work going. For the sake of this generation and the generation's to come in our great country. May he rest in peace our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
RC, Belfast and Toronto
I just want to say how very very sad to hear of the death of David Ervine as when he was 20 yrs i was only 10yrs. He lived in our street (Chamberlain Street). I knew David, Brian and there wee mum Dolly for years. In heaven your work will go on. You'll be looking down on all your friends from the political world and given them the push to get things sorted (the way it should be). Go and rest in peace david. You were too good for this life. Your work will go on in heaven. My you rest in peace.
PS say hello to dolly for me.
David Ervine was one of those rare MLAs. A unionist with vision who talked to everyone and never looked down upon his fellow human being, whatever their creed. My heart goes out to his family.
An exemplar Ulsterman with faith and conviction who brought Loyalists into the peace process. Mainstream loyalists tread softly over the ground that he covered years ago. A few more politicians like David Ervine and the Assembly would never have failed.
David Mulholland. The Hague, Netherlands
As an avid follower of political life in Ulster I would like to say David Ervin e was one of the few politicians in the United Kingdom that actually possessed common sense. He would be all too glad to admit his past mistakes but that would be followed by an honest forward thinking vision for the future. An attribute not possessed by many. Loyalism in Northern Ireland has lost a great man who will be extremely hard to replace. Sincerest condolences to the Ervine family. God bless you.
David Irvine was a colossus in the history of Ireland post-partition. He was simply one of the very best politicians in this land and had more vision than a parliament of politicians. He epitomized the very best British values of tolerance and respect and the very best Irish values of conviviality and compassion; an example to us all.
Andy, Peterborough, England
Principled to the end, he fought his own battles as he saw best before he sought to lead his part of the community, and in turn the whole community to a better place, recognising that this could be only done by mutual accommodation with fellow countrymen and women (whatever their allegiance) on a small and heretofore contested corner of this/these island/s. I don't have many autographs but I treasure his. His legacy is an inspiration to all. History will show this great man's worth.
Edmond Byrne, Cork
My deepest sympathy goes to the family of David Ervine. I'm in the States and support the Irish republican movement, but I always enjoyed seeing Mr Ervine interviewed when he was here, and appreciated hearing his perspective on Irish politics.
In interviews, he projected this wonderfully self-deprecating manner that's hard to put into words, but he came across as both a likeable "everyman" and an intelligent political leader. He articulated the unionist viewpoint with aplomb, and never forgot to mention the needs of the working class people back home.
Everybody in East Belfast should be proud of your native son; he carried your message to the world and represented you well. It's hard to imagine the future of political debate without David Ervine.
Politics aside, he was too young to go. No 53-year-old should die of a heart attack and stroke. To people from all political persuasions, I ask you to let David Ervine's untimely death be a wakeup call to you. Please make an appointment with your doctor today, and have a checkup soon.
Linda Coleman, USA
I feel a light has gone out in local politics. As an ordinary working person myself I feel David gave me a sense of hope, a sense that the Protestant people could look at politics in a more visionary and upbeat way instead of pretending the "Shinners" as David liked to call them, don't exist or have no valid mandate. He was a man ahead of his time and local politics has few of those. Condolences to his family and friends.
I am emailing you from Perth western Australia but lived in east Belfast most of my life until one year ago. I always admired David Irvine and thought that he spoke a lot of sense since he had actually served time and could see things from all perspectives. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and sons. God Bless
Brenda Kelly & Family, Perth Western Australia
Your message: As a nationalist and republican I can safely say that David Ervine was an honest politician! And those are to be treasured in this day and age! I obviously didn't agree with his viewpoint but I respected the man! May he RIP.
I am saddened to hear of David’s passing. I first met with David in 1995 while undertaking research on the ‘new’ loyalism, I got to know him better while working at Stormont from 1998 onwards. After moving to London in 2001 I saw him on the odd visit back to the ‘hill’ but on each and every time he had time for a quick chat. That was what he was like - a genuine man. This really is a great loss not just for loyalism, but for all of Irish Politics. May he rest in peace.
Sean McKee, London
In my opinion he was the greatest politician that ever walked. He went beyond the call of duty to try and bring about peace in Northern Ireland. The peace process has taken a step back with David now gone. He will be sadly missed.
David Ervine was a politician ahead of his time. Whatever mistakes he made in his past he more than made up for with his forward thinking, tireless work and endless love and respect for all the people of Northern Ireland. His passing will be a massive and tragic loss politically for every section of our society. We shall miss your clarity, we shall miss your honesty, we shall miss your humour. God bless you and thank you for all your help.
Janine Tweedie, Belfast
article is a fitting tribute. An honest, forward-thinking politician where there were few of his kind. I didn't care what "side" he came from - he spoke words of common sense and politics will be the poorer for the loss.
A man who made sense, talked honestly and did what he said he was going to do. He will be missed not only by his family but by alot of people throughout the province. A sad passing.
Gary Tate, Belfast
I am saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mr Ervine. Sincerest sympathy to his wife and family. I had great respect for his courage.
C Fahy, Co Clare
Deepest sympathy to all David's family circle. His contribution in progressing loyalism into the political arena shall never be forgotten. Rest in Peace my friend.
Ernie Purvis (former election agent to David), Dubai
Our heartfelt sympathy goes to Jeanette, Mark, Owen and the entire Ervine family. Simply irreplaceable. Thank you for all that you gave us. We will remember.
Tom Lynne and Family
A gentle and honest politician - one who understood the real meaning of peace and harmony amongst all peoples. Sincerest
sympathy to his wife and family.
J McClinton, Armagh
Deeply saddened by the passing of David. A constant voice for common sense and hope. Deepest condolences to all the family.
W. Dunbar, Toronoto
I am so very saddened to learn of the David Ervine's death. I write from San Francisco, California and, like many others in the U.S. who care about Northern Ireland, we understand the tremendous loss of such a man who aimed to express the perspective of his community while remaining ever open to broad ideas and to a shared government.
I've traveled to Belfast many times over the last decade, primarily as a volunteer with Women Together for Peace. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and hear his thoughts on the future of his country. He told me how he would sit down with anyone who genuinely wanted to discuss ideas and a way forward.
His complete commitment to his country, his constituents, and his wife and sons was palpable. In addition to this commitment, I was most moved by what he said about the ceasefires. How, without even talking with one another, paramilitaries on both sides seemed to come to the same conclusion that the violence was futile. It only served to lock up young men at the prime of their lives. He didn't want that to be the only choice for his sons. My heart goes out to Northern Ireland and to his family.
Jennifer Greene Ringgold
I am saddened to hear of the sudden passing of David. I had great respect for his courage in facing up to his past and for putting his experience to good use in trying to make Northern Ireland a better place for all inhabitants. He was an honest politician, something the world needs a lot more of. One of my fondest memories of David, is when he gave a personal tour of Stormont to a group of my American and Canadian business associates a few years ago. They were justly impressed with his honesty, intelligence and good humor. David you have nothing to be ashamed of, Rest in Peace.
I always respected this man because he was honest, brave and not only gave a voice to the loyalist people but as important give a voice to bread and butter issues and also to the working class irrespective of their religious background, he is the only politician that wanted to leave the troubles where they belong, in the past, forward and moderate thinker, it's just a pity many others could not have fallen in his foot steps, he will be sadly missed.
From an RC
I knew Davey since Megain school on the same street he was born. So I guess about 48 years now and I can honestly say a better friend a person couldn't ask for. I send my whole hearted condolences to his wife and family whom I never had the pleasure to meet. Davey you are a true son of Ulster giving the ultimate sacrifice for your country. East Belfast will never be the same without him.
I hadn't seen Davey for over 30 years but last year when I was home I took my wife to meet him in his office and he greeted us like it had only been yesterday. Dave's greatest worry was our kids and the lack of education he was seeing in them. He told us of how would do anything if only the kids in east Belfast would stay at school. God bless you Davey it's going to be very hard to fill your shoes!!
Bill Donaldson, Vancouver, Canada
We will miss you terribly. You did so much for the people of Ireland... the land you loved. You were a great person a good, honest guy. In our hearts you will remain. All the best die young !! God bless all your family.
I knew David only as a frequent contributor to my radio program in Canada. Invariably he delivered eloquent and ultimately thought provoking analyses of broad global and intensely personal human conflict. His voice was always welcome on our airwaves and I shall miss his positive contributions.
Roy Green, 900 CHML, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I shared a joke with David in a lift at Stormont a number of years ago. This was sadly the only time we spoke. He knew that we were from opposite ends of the political spectrum but that didn 't matter. I would like to thank David as I have no doubt that if it weren 't for him we wouldn 't have the opportunity for peace that we have today. Sincere condolences to his family at this terrible time.
It is with great sadness that I heard the tragic news of the sudden death of Mr Ervine.
Having met him on a number of occasions on my trips home to Belfast, I was extremely impressed with the mans sincerity and courage in taking on the role as representitive of the people who mattered most to him, the working class people of Northern Ireland.
To his family I offer my deepest condolences. To his friends and comrades and to the other politicians who represent working class loyalists I say lift up the torch and let not this brave and courageous Son Of Ulster's work and life be in vain.
Ray Hall, Brampton, Ontario
Someone who honestly cared about people and are kids future.
Richard, east Belfast
Our deepest sympathy to Davids's niece Liz, Husband Thomas and their son's James and Bill in Australia.
Michael and Alison Neeson and Son's, Canada
My politics are very much from a Republican background, having being a supporter of the INLA and the IRA. The Irish political debate is one I have discussed on many occasions.
I would have been extremley proud and privledged to have such a highly intelligent politician as Mr. Ervine, if i had been from the unionist or loyalist background. I think Mr Ervine was one of, if not the most articulate politician, who captivated my attention whenever he spoke.
To the loyalist people of Ireland, you should be very very proud of having someone like Mr Ervine, who fought so passionately for what he believed in. To his family and friends, may god give you the strenghth to come to terms with your massive loss. Finally to Mr Ervine, the people of Ireland are now benefiting from your hard work and beleives. May you rest in peace.
A great man. May he rest in peace. David and his family are in my prayers.
John McDonagh, Dublin
David will be sadly missed by all who he came into contact with. He leaves many friends in Newcastle upon Tyne shocked and saddened by his untimely death. He will be remembered fondly always
An honest man, who alone among the mendacious 'political' creatures in the country had the courage to admit and regret his errors and then go forward. He will be greatly missed.
Although I did not know Mr.Ervine,I held him in high esteem.He was a great politician and loyalist who wanted to take the fight to republicans on the political front.Ulster needs more men like him. He will be missed.RIP.
John Ellis, New York
I would like to send my condolences to David's family. I read his book and was inspired by it. He is a great loss to humanity.
I am a retired policeman in London, but originally came from Bangor. I took a keen interest in the troubles and thought David was very brave and intelligent to take a stance for peace.
He will be well remembered by one and all. He gave his all.
Deepest Sympathy to Mark and Owen. My thoughts are with you both at this sad time.
David Bramston and family circle.
I called the PUP office today and gave my condolences, while I didn’t agree with David’s politics I admired his honesty and his desire to move things forward with his neigbours. May he rest in peace
Thank you David. Your approach to life and politics has given us all an inspirational legacy.
As an ex-RUC officer I considered Mr Ervine a breath of fresh air in the politics of this country. He was a man who genuinely turned his life around for good and this has benefited the whole community. Rest in peace you deserve it.
I never met David but as an exiled Protestant living for many years in the NE of England I saw David as a leading light in the search for a peaceful solution to our troubles. David was an articulate man with a vision of Ulster for his fellow Ulstermen. He will be sorely missed in the Province.
David was a good friend and he was one of the best people I ever knew. His energy, his optimism, his friendly and open nature and his desire to create a better world made him someone you wanted to know and work with. I will always treasure our meetings and often long and rambling conversations.
David worked tirelessly to make Northern Ireland a better place and he will be sorely missed by all. You just don’t replace someone like him. I’m devastated. Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathies for his wife, and h i s family and for all those who were lucky enough to be his friend.
Rest easy David. You deserve it. You did your bit. You did your best. More importantly, you left this world a much better place for your grandchildren and all the people of Northern Ireland.
My deepest sympathies on this tragic loss.
Tony Novosel, Pittsburgh, Pa. USA