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Sunday, August 15, 1999 Published at 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK

UK Politics

SDLP founder dies

The late Paddy Devlin: "Cared for members of both communities"

Paddy Devlin, a founder member of Northern Ireland's nationalist Social and Democratic Labour Party, has died.

Mr Devlin, 74, had been ill for some time and died in hospital in Belfast.

SDLP Assembly member Joe Hendron's tribute to Paddy Devlin
A lifelong trade unionist, Mr Devlin was the minister for health in the doomed Northern Ireland power-sharing executive of 1974.

He was a district secretary of the local Irish Transport and General Workers Union since 1976 and wrote an autobiography entitled Straight Left since his retirement from active politics.

Turned back on violence

Born in Belfast in 1925, he spent his youth in the republican movement and was interned for three years in 1942.

He then turned his back in violence and became involved in Labour politics before founding the SDLP.

His work in the trade union movement and his efforts to foster cross-community relations were cited when he was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours list.

Former West Belfast MP, Joe Hendron, paid tribute to the late Mr Devlin and said he was more than just a founder member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

"I don't think I have ever met a public representative who has cared as much for the rights of ordinary members of both communities," said Mr Hendron.

Mr Devlin is survived by his wife, Theresa, and five children.

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