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Robert Porter: Inspirational father, politician and judge had Derry close to his heart

Prominent politician and barrister Sir Robert Porter QC has died following a long illness at the age of 90.

The former Minister of Home Affairs in the Northern Ireland Parliament in the late 1960s to early 1970s, who was affectionately known as 'Beezer', had been cared for at the Somme nursing home in east Belfast.

Born in Londonderry, he was a graduate of Foyle College and Queen's University Belfast. He played for and was a supporter of City of Derry rugby club.

Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1965, he had been a prominent member of the Ulster Unionist Party in the 1960s, later resigning to join the Alliance Party.

He had a distinguished professional career after service in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War and in peace time with the Royal Artillery.

Between 1978 and 1995, Sir Robert was a judge of the county courts.

He was predeceased by wife Margaret and daughter Helen. He is survived by another daughter Kathryn, his son Robert and five grandchildren.

Last night, Kathryn paid tribute to their "inspirational father".

"He was a tremendously hard working, proper, honourable and fair man," she said.

"He could be hard too, but had a huge sense of fun."

Kathryn explained her father was well known and admired by people in the arts community.

"Even during the darkest days of the Troubles he could still be found in the audience at the Lyric and Arts Theatre.

"He was also a great singer of Percy French songs. His favourite was Slattery's Mounted Fut. A party with dad was always great fun. He was a Derry man. It was very close to his heart and he had five grandchildren who he adored. They were the apple of his eye."

Sir Robert will be buried after a service in the Holy Trinity Church, Drumbo, Lisburn, tomorrow at 2pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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