Belfast Telegraph

DUP founding member and former West Tyrone MLA Oliver Gibson passes away

Former West Tyrone MLA and founding member of the DUP Oliver Gibson has passed away at the age of 83.

The news of Mr Gibson's passing was announced by the DUP's Strangford MLA Peter Weir.

Mr Gibson served as MLA for West Tyrone from 1998 to 2003. He also served on Omagh District Council for a number of years. 

His niece, Esther Gibson, was one of the 29 victims killed in the 1998 Omagh bombing.

Born in Beragh, County Tyrone he attended Queens' University Belfast, worked as a teacher and also served in the Ulster Defence Regiment.

He was also a member of the Orange Order and the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the party was grateful for the work done by Mr Gibson throughout his political career.

“I was saddened to hear of Oliver Gibson’s passing today. Oliver was well known throughout the party, as one of its founding members and his character will be greatly missed," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said.

"I always enjoyed meeting up with Oliver at Party events. He was a great encourager.

"He was of a certain vintage of politicians who took their place in the first session of the NI Assembly and continually worked towards making life better for all those who lived here, through his work as a DUP Councillor and an MLA for West Tyrone.

"We are grateful for the faithful service Oliver dedicated to our Party and we extend our sympathies to his family.”

DUP MLA Peter Weir paid tribute to Oliver Gibson on Twitter.

"Very sorry to hear of the passing of Oliver Gibson, former West Tyrone MLA," he said.

"Had the honour of serving under him in the NI Forum Education Committee and with on the Assembly Finance Committee.

"A great intellect and character. Condolences to him family."

DUP South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford also paid tribute.

"Sad to hear of the passing of Oliver Gibson, former MLA for West Tyrone. He was old school DUP but with a mischievous wit," he said.

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