QUB chancellor and peace builder Tom Moran dies aged 65
Tributes have been paid to Queen's University chancellor Dr Tom Moran, who has died in the United States.
The 65-year-old Irish-American businessman was appointed Chancellor of the Belfast university in 2015.
Queen's vice-chancellor Professor Ian Greer said last night: "It is with great sadness that I announced the death of our chancellor, Dr Tom Moran. Tom has passed away peacefully in New York following a short illness.
"We are grateful for Tom's unwavering support and commitment to the university since he was appointed chancellor. Tom considered it a privilege and honour to be our Chancellor, and embraced the role with passion and excitement.
"Tom was a real inspiration to all those who knew him, and will be sorely missed."
Prof Greer offered his deepest sympathy to Dr Moran's wife Joan and the family circle.
A New Yorker with ancestral roots in Ireland, Mr Moran was listed as one of the top 100 Irish-American business people in the US.
He served as president and chief executive officer of the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, and was the first person to have been appointed president from within the company.
He also held the post of chairman of Concern Worldwide (US) Inc, an international humanitarian relief organisation.
Dr Moran contributed to several humanitarian and community causes, including acting as one of a group of unofficial peace envoys to Northern Ireland throughout the 1990s.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton tweeted last night: "Sad to hear of the passing of Tom Moran in New York earlier today.
"A great friend - full of honesty, candour and wisdom. Authentic advocate for policing and the peace process.
"Many of us in leadership will miss his support, counsel and humour."
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was among the many prominent figures who praised Dr Moran's contribution to the peace process.
"I learned with sadness today of the death of Tom Moran in New York," Mr Coveney said on social media.
"Tom made a very significant positive impact on Irish-American relations, in particular supporting peace in Northern Ireland."
Dr Moran was born in 1952 on Staten Island, one of three children of an Irish-Italian-American mother and an Irish-American father, with roots in counties Fermanagh and Tipperary.
In 2015 Dr Moran was among those honoured at the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards in Dublin.
Senior SDLP figure Mark Durkan said: "Tom Moran had a head for big business but heart for small causes.
"His outreach in support of our peace process and Good Friday Agreement spanned right across and beyond party divides with encouragement and good counsel given straight."
Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams TD issued a statement of condolence on behalf of the party leadership.
He said: "It is with very deep regret that we heard the news of Tom Moran's death in New York.
"Tom, introduced to the peace process by Bill Flynn, became a crucial player in his positive involvement with political representatives of loyalism, making clear his main aim was a shared understanding of the peace process and building support across all communities. He will be deeply missed."
Former PUP politician Dawn Purvis said: "So sad that a great friend and supporter of the peace process, Tom Moran, has passed away in his native New York.
"Rest easy my friend."