Belfast Telegraph

Northern Irish peer Lord Laird passes away

Lord Laird
Lord Laird

Tributes have been paid to Northern Irish peer Lord Laird following his death aged 74.

He passed away in hospital following an illness.

John Laird became the youngest member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1970 when he won a by-election to replace his father, Dr Noman Laird OBE, on his death.

After the suspension of government in Northern Ireland he founded a well-known public relations firm still in operation as 'JPR'.

He was created a life peer on 16 July 1999 as Baron Laird, of Artigarvan in the Co Tyrone.

Previously an Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird served as an independent from 2013.

UUP leader Robin Swann led the tributes to Lord Laird.

“My deepest sympathies go to Lord Laird’s Family and in particular to his Wife Carol, and his children, Alison and David. John was a larger than life character, who cared deeply for Northern Ireland. He will be sadly missed by his family and wide circle of friends," Mr Swann said.

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Rogan paid tribute to a "lifelong friend".

“John was a lifelong friend and Unionist, and was the best man at my wedding. We entered the Lords together in 1999 and shared an office in the Palace of Westminster," he said.

“He was a great stalwart for Northern Ireland and I deeply regret his passing. Lorna and I send our condolences to Carol, Alison, David and the wider family circle.”

Ulster Unionist Party Chairman, Lord Empey paid tribute to Lord Laird's commitment to Ulster Scots.

“I’ve known John since we were in the Young Unionists together," Lord Empey said.

"He had a lifetime commitment to Unionism and Ulster Scots culture which he demonstrated in his own colourful and flamboyant way. I want to express my condolences to Carol, Alison, David and the wider Laird family.”

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