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Tributes pour in for 'fearless peacemaker' Seamus Mallon after death aged 83

Seamus Mallon 1936-2020 [Photos] Close

Former deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon has died

Former deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon has died

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/99 First Minister David Trimble and  Dep First Minister Seamus Mallon sit opposate Mary Harney Taoinshada and the Taoiseah Bartie Ahern at the Historic first meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh today.
Picture Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/99 First Minister David Trimble and Dep First Minister Seamus Mallon sit opposate Mary Harney Taoinshada and the Taoiseah Bartie Ahern at the Historic first meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh today. Picture Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST 03/09/98 President Clinton is shown the view of Belfast from the top steps of Parliament Buildings this morning by First minister David Trimble and his Deputy Seamus Mallon and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 03/09/98 President Clinton is shown the view of Belfast from the top steps of Parliament Buildings this morning by First minister David Trimble and his Deputy Seamus Mallon and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

PACEMAKER  BELFAST 9/7/99 First and Deputy first ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon share a joke and a laugh as they both graduated from Queens University in Belfast this afternoon, both recieved houourary docterates for their work in the Peace Process.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 9/7/99 First and Deputy first ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon share a joke and a laugh as they both graduated from Queens University in Belfast this afternoon, both recieved houourary docterates for their work in the Peace Process.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/11/98 Irish PM Bertie Aherne shakes hannds with Northern Ireland's first minister David Trimble and his deputy Seamus Mallon as he arrives at Stormont for talks this evening.
02/04/08 Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has announced he is to resign in May.
Mr Ahern, 56, has been taoiseach since June 1997 and has been a member of the Irish Parliament for 31 years.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/11/98 Irish PM Bertie Aherne shakes hannds with Northern Ireland's first minister David Trimble and his deputy Seamus Mallon as he arrives at Stormont for talks this evening. 02/04/08 Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has announced he is to resign in May. Mr Ahern, 56, has been taoiseach since June 1997 and has been a member of the Irish Parliament for 31 years.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/2000   US President Bill Clinton pictured posing for their official photograph before their crunch talks this morning with Prime Minister Tony Blair and First and Deputy First ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon during his visit to Stormont this morning.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/2000 US President Bill Clinton pictured posing for their official photograph before their crunch talks this morning with Prime Minister Tony Blair and First and Deputy First ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon during his visit to Stormont this morning.

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Annual SDLP Conference in Belfast Europa Hotel. John Hume (leader) and Seamus Mallon. 28/29/30 Jan 1983.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Annual SDLP Conference in Belfast Europa Hotel. John Hume (leader) and Seamus Mallon. 28/29/30 Jan 1983. 82/83/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Annual SDLP Conference in Belfast Europa Hotel. John Hume (leader) and Seamus Mallon and Sean Farren. 28/29/30 Jan 1983.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Annual SDLP Conference in Belfast Europa Hotel. John Hume (leader) and Seamus Mallon and Sean Farren. 28/29/30 Jan 1983. 82/83/bw

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST                          APRIL 1988       PF

CONGREESMAN JOE KENNEDY AN A VISIT TO NEWRY AND CROSSMAGLEN WITH SEAMUS MALLON, PICTURED BEING CONFRONTED BY SINN FEIN COUNCILLOR JIM McALLISTER IN CROSSMAGLEN.

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PACEMAKER BELFAST APRIL 1988 PF CONGREESMAN JOE KENNEDY AN A VISIT TO NEWRY AND CROSSMAGLEN WITH SEAMUS MALLON, PICTURED BEING CONFRONTED BY SINN FEIN COUNCILLOR JIM McALLISTER IN CROSSMAGLEN. 227/88/BW/C

Seamus Mallon. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon outside Stormont. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon outside Stormont. Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/07/98 Northern Ireland's first and second ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon pictured at at Stormont Press conference this morning where they both said that progress had been made in the behind the scenes negotiations over the Drumcree Stand-off but also said that there was still a long way to go and both sides should be prepared to give a little.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/07/98 Northern Ireland's first and second ministers David Trimble and Seamus Mallon pictured at at Stormont Press conference this morning where they both said that progress had been made in the behind the scenes negotiations over the Drumcree Stand-off but also said that there was still a long way to go and both sides should be prepared to give a little.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/11/99 The SDLP team led by leader John Hume arrive at Stormont on monday Morning to start the process of selecting ministers for the Devolved Government

PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/11/99 The SDLP team led by leader John Hume arrive at Stormont on monday Morning to start the process of selecting ministers for the Devolved Government

PACEMAKER BELFAST   10/4/1998
The Good Friday Agreement signing.
SDLP party leader John Hume and his talks team emerge from Castle Buildings to give their take on the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/4/1998 The Good Friday Agreement signing. SDLP party leader John Hume and his talks team emerge from Castle Buildings to give their take on the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 6/9/99 SDLP deputy leader Seamus mallon heads his party talks to waiting press at Stormont this afternoon before going into talks with senator George Mitchell at Castle buildings.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 6/9/99 SDLP deputy leader Seamus mallon heads his party talks to waiting press at Stormont this afternoon before going into talks with senator George Mitchell at Castle buildings.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/5/00  First Minister David Trimbel and Dep First Minister Seamus Mallon break for coffee when they met today to start planing for the new Northern Ireland Executive which will be operational from tomorrow.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 29/5/00 First Minister David Trimbel and Dep First Minister Seamus Mallon break for coffee when they met today to start planing for the new Northern Ireland Executive which will be operational from tomorrow.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 26/2/2001  The First and deputy First minister's David Trimble and Seamus Mallon today set out their Programme for Government to the Northern Ireland Asembly which will run for three years from April 2001. The programme will be debated in the house next week.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 26/2/2001 The First and deputy First minister's David Trimble and Seamus Mallon today set out their Programme for Government to the Northern Ireland Asembly which will run for three years from April 2001. The programme will be debated in the house next week.

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST.  SDLP Annual Conference in Forum Hotel. Shirley Williams Special Guest. 9/11/85.
1185/85/bwc

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. SDLP Annual Conference in Forum Hotel. Shirley Williams Special Guest. 9/11/85. 1185/85/bwc

Pacemaker press 10/11/12 Seamus Mallon attends the SDLP's annual conference held at the armagh City hotel. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Pacemaker press 10/11/12 Seamus Mallon attends the SDLP's annual conference held at the armagh City hotel. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Seamus Mallon Pictured with his granddaughter Lara Lenny. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon Pictured with his granddaughter Lara Lenny. Pacemaker

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 7/10/98: First Minister David Trimble and his Deputy, Seamus Mallon together on the day they were elected to their new roles in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 7/10/98: First Minister David Trimble and his Deputy, Seamus Mallon together on the day they were elected to their new roles in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BFST 01-07-98; SDLP Party  Leader John Hume shakes the hand of Seamus Mallon after he ruled himself out for the post of Second Minister of the new Northern Ireland Assembly and nominated his Deputy Seamus Mallon instead

PACEMAKER BFST 01-07-98; SDLP Party Leader John Hume shakes the hand of Seamus Mallon after he ruled himself out for the post of Second Minister of the new Northern Ireland Assembly and nominated his Deputy Seamus Mallon instead

Pacemaker press 10/11/12 Seamus Mallon and Brid Rodgers attend the SDLP's annual conference held at the armagh City hotel. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Pacemaker press 10/11/12 Seamus Mallon and Brid Rodgers attend the SDLP's annual conference held at the armagh City hotel. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  11/11/2001  Former Deputy leader of the SDLP Seamus Mallon pictured at the party's annual conference at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle Co Down this afternoon.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/11/2001 Former Deputy leader of the SDLP Seamus Mallon pictured at the party's annual conference at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle Co Down this afternoon.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 7/11/00 First Minister David Trimble and Dep. First Minister Seamus Mallon enjoy a joke after they unvailed the new peace statue at stormont today. The statue was donated by Coventary Cathedril and is a replica of ones in Berlin and Hiroshema.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 7/11/00 First Minister David Trimble and Dep. First Minister Seamus Mallon enjoy a joke after they unvailed the new peace statue at stormont today. The statue was donated by Coventary Cathedril and is a replica of ones in Berlin and Hiroshema.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  20/02/2015
Seamus Mllon
Seamus Mallon Pictured with Cardinal Sean Brady.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/02/2015 Seamus Mllon Seamus Mallon Pictured with Cardinal Sean Brady.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/06/98 SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon canvassing in Milford Co Armagh this afternoon in the run up to Thursday's Assembly elections in Ulster.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/06/98 SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon canvassing in Milford Co Armagh this afternoon in the run up to Thursday's Assembly elections in Ulster. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST  20/02/2015
Seamus Mllon
Seamus Mallon Pictured with Former SDLP Leader Mark Durkan

PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/02/2015 Seamus Mllon Seamus Mallon Pictured with Former SDLP Leader Mark Durkan

Seamus Mallon, 1979. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon, 1979. Pacemaker

Pacemaker Bfst Ltd 4-3-98 Tommy Canavan(Right) Brother of  Pub Owner with Ulster Unionist Leader David Trimble and SDLP Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon  in Poyntzpass were they visited the  Two Familys  of the men killed.

Pacemaker Bfst Ltd 4-3-98 Tommy Canavan(Right) Brother of Pub Owner with Ulster Unionist Leader David Trimble and SDLP Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon in Poyntzpass were they visited the Two Familys of the men killed.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  archive  07/01/1980
The SDLP leadership Seamus Mallon (right) John Hume (centre) and Eddie McGrady (left). Meeting Humphrey Atkins and the Northern Irelnd government

PACEMAKER BELFAST archive 07/01/1980 The SDLP leadership Seamus Mallon (right) John Hume (centre) and Eddie McGrady (left). Meeting Humphrey Atkins and the Northern Irelnd government

PACEMAKER BELFAST  ARCHIVE  9th November 1980
Seamus Mallon (centre) at SDLP annual Conference in Newcastle Co Down with Don Canning (left) and Kevin Murphy (right)

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 9th November 1980 Seamus Mallon (centre) at SDLP annual Conference in Newcastle Co Down with Don Canning (left) and Kevin Murphy (right)

PACEMAKER BFST 05-10-99: SDLP Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon during his speech to delegates at their party conference at Belfast's Wellington Park Hotel.

PACEMAKER BFST 05-10-99: SDLP Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon during his speech to delegates at their party conference at Belfast's Wellington Park Hotel.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/06/98 "Election Apathy" SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon finds yet another empty house as he canvasses in Milford Co Armagh this afternoon in the run up to Thursdays Assembly elections.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/06/98 "Election Apathy" SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon finds yet another empty house as he canvasses in Milford Co Armagh this afternoon in the run up to Thursdays Assembly elections.

PACEMAKER BELFAST               JUNE 1987      BM

SEAMUS MALLON AFTER RETAINING SEAT NEWRY AND ARMAGH WITH WIFE GERALDINE AND DAUGHTER ORLA.

602/87/BW

PACEMAKER BELFAST JUNE 1987 BM SEAMUS MALLON AFTER RETAINING SEAT NEWRY AND ARMAGH WITH WIFE GERALDINE AND DAUGHTER ORLA. 602/87/BW

PACEMAKER BELFAST  20/02/2015
Seamus Mllon
Seamus Mallon Pictured with his Daughter Orla Lenny her daughter Lara Lenny and her husband Mark Lenny.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/02/2015 Seamus Mllon Seamus Mallon Pictured with his Daughter Orla Lenny her daughter Lara Lenny and her husband Mark Lenny.

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 91

30 APRIL 1991
577/91

FIRST DAY OF STORMONT TALKS

SDLP PARTY 
JOE HENDRON (L), JOHN HUME (C), EDDIE MCGRADDY (R), SEAMUS MALLON (FR)

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 91 30 APRIL 1991 577/91 FIRST DAY OF STORMONT TALKS SDLP PARTY JOE HENDRON (L), JOHN HUME (C), EDDIE MCGRADDY (R), SEAMUS MALLON (FR)

PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/98 SDLP leaders John Hume, Seamus Mallon and Eddie McGraddy talk to the press after the deal at Stormont today.
Good Friday Agreement day

PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/04/98 SDLP leaders John Hume, Seamus Mallon and Eddie McGraddy talk to the press after the deal at Stormont today. Good Friday Agreement day

PACEMAKER BELFAST  archive  30/01/1984
SDLP leaders John Hume & Seamus Mallon at annual Conference at the Forum Hotel

PACEMAKER BELFAST archive 30/01/1984 SDLP leaders John Hume & Seamus Mallon at annual Conference at the Forum Hotel

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/8/2011:  Former SDLP leaders Seamus Mallon and John Hume chat at the funeral of  the journalist James Kelly in Belfast today.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/8/2011: Former SDLP leaders Seamus Mallon and John Hume chat at the funeral of the journalist James Kelly in Belfast today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST  archive  30/01/1984
SDLP deputy leaderSeamus Mallon with Brid Rodgers & Raurai Quinn at annual Conference at the Forum Hotel

PACEMAKER BELFAST archive 30/01/1984 SDLP deputy leaderSeamus Mallon with Brid Rodgers & Raurai Quinn at annual Conference at the Forum Hotel

PACEMAKER BELFAST  ARCHIVE  15th November 1981
Seamus Mallon & Brid Rodgers at the SDLP annual Conference at the Slieve Donard Hotel 1981

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 15th November 1981 Seamus Mallon & Brid Rodgers at the SDLP annual Conference at the Slieve Donard Hotel 1981

PACEMAKER BELFAST  Archive
Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

PACEMAKER BELFAST Archive Seamus Mallon SDLP deputy leader

Former deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon has died

Tributes have been paid to former deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon after his death at the age of 83.

The former SDLP deputy leader passed away a period of illness.

One of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Mallon served alongside First Minister David Trimble in the Stormont Executive from 1998 to 2001.

Mr Mallon served as the deputy leader of the SDLP from 1979 to 2001 and was also MP for Newry and Armagh from 1986 to 2005.

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Seamus Mallon and John Hume at the SDLP Annual Conference in Forum Hotel.

Seamus Mallon and John Hume at the SDLP Annual Conference in Forum Hotel.

He represented the SDLP as MLA for Newry and Armagh between 1998 and 2003, having served in previous Stormont institutions and was also elected at council level.

Mr Mallon briefly served in the Seanad between May and December 1982 after being appointed by then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey.

Alongside party leader John Hume, Mr Mallon was at the forefront of the SDLP throughout the Troubles and was steadfast in his opposition to violence.

Born in Markethill, Armagh in 1936, Mr Mallon attended St Patrick's Grammar School, where he was noted for his talent as a GAA footballer. He went on to represent his native county.

Before entering politics, Mr Mallon worked as a teacher, becoming headmaster of St James Primary School in Markethill.

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Seamus Mallon on the campaign trail.

Seamus Mallon on the campaign trail.

Like many founding members of the SDLP he became involved in politics through the civil rights movement.

He stepped away from the SDLP leadership in 2001 alongside John Hume, and did not contest his Assembly or Westminster seat.

Mr Mallon published his autobiography 'A Shared Home Place' last year, reflecting on his life and political career.

“As I prepare to take my leave of our shared home place, I find comfort in an old Greek proverb: ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit’,” the book ended.

He is survived by his daughter Orla and grandchildren. Mr Mallon's wife Gertrude predeceased him in 2016.

A book of condolence for Mr Mallon is set to open at Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

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David Trimble, Bill Clinton, Seamus Mallon and Tony Blair at Stormont in 2000

David Trimble, Bill Clinton, Seamus Mallon and Tony Blair at Stormont in 2000

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that Ireland had lost one of its most fierce champions for justice, equality and peace following Mr Mallon's passing.

Mr Eastwood said that Seamus Mallon’s life's work carved a pathway beyond Northern Ireland's troubled past and gave the opportunity to build a shared home on the island.

“Seamus Mallon was a force of nature. In the darkest days of conflict, when hope was in short supply, Seamus represented the fierce thirst for justice that ran through the SDLP and through communities that had lost so much to political violence," the Foyle MP said.

“His passion for peace underpinned by truth, justice and reconciliation came from a lifetime as a proud son of Markethill where he was born, grew up and raised his own family. It didn’t matter who you were, where you worshipped or what your politics were, there was always help to be found at Seamus’ hearth."

Issuing a statement on behalf of her husband John, Pat Hume said that history would remember Mr Mallon "as one of the great Irish patriots and peacemakers".

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Seamus Mallon Pictured with his granddaughter Lara Lenny. Pacemaker

Seamus Mallon Pictured with his granddaughter Lara Lenny. Pacemaker

“He was a man of huge strength and courage, who stood with John for many years in the fight for justice, peace and reconciliation on this island," Mrs Hume said.

“Seamus was fearless in his condemnation of violence regardless of its source and was a rock of integrity throughout his career which spanned some of our most difficult days.

“His clarity, insight and political nous sustained the SDLP, often during periods while John was away, and were a source of inspiration not only at home but throughout the world."

First Minister Arlene Foster said she was "very sorry" to learn of Mr Mallon's passing.

"As Seamus said "we have two stark and clear choices. We can live together in generosity and compassion or we can continue to die in bitter disharmony," the DUP leader wrote on Twitter.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said that he would be "remembered for his contribution to Irish politics over many decades as the SDLP deputy leader and the key role he played in achieving the Good Friday Agreement".

Mrs McDonald's party colleague Michelle O'Neill said that Mr Mallon "made a huge contribution to the politics of peace and the Good Friday Agreement".

"His mark on our history is indelible," the deputy First Minister said.

Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey described the former deputy First Minister as a "towering figure".

"I had the pleasure of serving alongside him during the first Assembly mandate back in 1998, and witnessed at first hand the central role he played in establishing these political institutions," the Sinn Fein MLA said.

Lord Trimble told BBC Radio Ulster his former Stormont deputy was committed to peaceful, democratic politics.

"He was a stubborn man but at the end of the day he was prepared to make an agreement, which we did and implemented," he said.

Lord Empey said that he did not believe the Good Friday talks process could have succeeded without Mr Mallon.

"He understood the practicalities and realities of politics and government, something that some of his colleagues failed to appreciate," the Ulster Unionist peer said.

“He also had a dry sense of humour, especially during the many crisis talks we had at Hillsborough and other locations over the years."

Former US President Bill Clinton, a key figure in the peace process, said that he and wife Hilary were saddened by the former SDLP deputy leader's passing, calling him "a hero of the peace process".

"Seamus never wavered from his vision for a shared future where neighbours of all faiths could live in dignity, or from the belief he shared with John Hume and the entire SDLP that nonviolence was the only way to reach that goal," President Clinton said.

"A teacher in practice and in heart, the lessons of his life and power of his example are as important today as ever."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that "history will remember Seamus as an architect of the Good Friday Agreement, a committed peace builder and a tireless champion of an inclusive Ireland".

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Mr Mallon was "one of the most important architects of peace in Northern Ireland".

"Brave, blunt, often prepared to swim against the tide if he felt it right, he was someone deeply respected and admired across the troubled landscape of Irish politics," Mr Blair said.

"I spent many hours listening to him and learning from him. He had a brilliant turn of phrase and sharp wit which he would use to great effect. He could be difficult but never ill intentioned.

"Tough to negotiate with but always for a purpose. Even occasionally fierce but always wise."

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said that he was deeply saddened by Mr Mallon's passing.

"His reputation as a politician and community activist of unsurpassed courage, civility and fairness is held by all those who had the privilege of knowing him," he said

"Few people have influenced the peace process in Northern Ireland more than Seamus Mallon, a formidable opponent and, a tough negotiator in speech and act, but always honest and honourable. He was a man who demonstrated integrity and courage in the face of opposition and threat, playing a vital role in building the peace process."

Archbishop Eamon Martin said that Armagh and Ireland had lost "one of our most respected sons and bravest leaders".

"People sometimes speak of the 'noble vocation of politics'. Seamus was a shining example of someone who gave his life to that vocation and in the service of others. He will be remembered as a man of integrity and great courage who was not afraid to speak up or call it as it was – even at great personal risk. A man of strong faith, Seamus was calm, fair and principled, and always respectful of the rights of others," he said.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said that Mr Mallon had contributed "an enormous amount to the peace process".

“Seamus played a pivotal role in the delivery of the Good Friday Agreement, which set us on the path to a peaceful society.," she said.

"Throughout his political life he showed a total commitment to civil rights and the ending of violence. He was not afraid to speak his mind and his integrity stayed with him to the end.”

UUP leader Steve Aiken said there could be no doubt that Mr Mallon was a "great Irishman".

“In Seamus, the Ulster Unionist Party found someone who we could work with to restore devolution to Northern Ireland. Seamus Mallon was a tough politician who was committed to the primacy of politics and never forgot his roots," he said.

Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir George Hamilton said that Mr Mallon had made a "massive contribution to the peace and political process".

"Thoughts with Seamus' family at this time of loss. Go raibh maith agat," he wrote on Twitter.

Belfast Telegraph