Alliance party leader Naomi Long MLA has paid tribute to Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor Barney Fitzpatrick, who has passed away.
Councillor Fitzpatrick passed away in hospital on Saturday.
He was born in west Belfast and graduated from the University of Ulster with a Masters Degree in Legal and Administrative studies incorporating European Law, he also had a postgraduate diploma in Business studies and management.
He was first elected to the previous Coleraine Borough Council in 2006, which followed 40 years of experience in the police, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent and receiving the Queen’s Police Medal for services to the public.
Councillor Fitzpatrick leaves behind wife Theresa and four children.
I had the pleasure of knowing Barney during his distinguished police career. He was a man who thrived on public service & was fiercely loyal to his principles. He was a significant influence to me & many colleagues. A one off who will be greatly missed. My sympathy to his family https://t.co/6NPk2Ghmv4— Stephen Martin OBE QPM (@SMartinOBEQPM) May 6, 2018
Naomi Long extended her deepest sympathies to his family circle on behalf of the Party Officers, Executive and wider Alliance members.
“Barney served the local community all his life, first as a police officer and latterly as a local councillor. Even over recent months in failing health, he continued to faithfully and diligently undertake his public duties at the Council," Mrs Long said.l
“He was a man of deep religious faith, who believed passionately in reconciliation and in healing the divisions in our community. Always gracious and generous in his dealings with others, he will be greatly missed by us all in the Alliance Party and by those with whom and for whom he worked on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.”
Chris McCaw, Chair of Alliance’s East Londonderry Association, said Councillor Fitzpatrick was committed to peace and reconciliation.
“Barney was someone who lived the values of Alliance. He was born in West Belfast and served in the police for over 40 years. He was wounded in the line of duty and yet chose to work for a united community in Northern Ireland, to bring divided communities together," he said.
“I was Inspired to become involved in politics by Barney’s passionate belief in a united Northern Ireland and we will continue to work towards his vision of a united, progressive society that works for everyone.”
Party colleague and friend Yvonne Boyle also paid tribute to Councillor Fitzpatrick.
“I was privileged to sit with Barney as an Alliance Councillor in Coleraine Borough Council from 2011-2015,” she said.
“He was a committed and honourable Alliance representative. When Alliance was offered the Deputy Mayor post in 2014, Barney graciously allowed me the honour of the role. He was always a reassuring presence on Council and was especially known for his humorous stories. My sincere sympathy goes to Theresa and his family members.”