Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has paid tribute to Civil Rights leader and co-founder of the SDLP Ivan Cooper, following news of his death today.
Deputy Martin commented, “For anyone with even a passing interest in the Northern Ireland conflict and the background to it, Ivan Cooper stands out as a giant of a man. Confounding the assumed position of his community background, he stood up and called out inequality and injustice wherever he saw it. His passion for fairness stayed with him throughout his entire life.
“He was there from the beginning and organised the March for Civil Rights in Derry in 1972 which was to come under attack from the British Army’s Parachute Regiment, leading to the death of 14 unarmed civilians.
“He was a fierce critic of the sectarian violence that engulfed his beloved city of Derry over the following decades and worked closely and tirelessly with his good friend John Hume to keep the hope of peace and equality alive, helping to pave the way for the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.
“His loss will be deeply felt by his family and by our partners in the SDLP. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Francis, daughters Sinead and Bronagh, his family circle, and to Colum and the entire SDLP organisation. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm.”