SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has paid tribute to the contribution of Gertrude Mallon to politics and peace in Ireland following news of her passing last night.
Gertrude was a life-long SDLP member who stood against violence alongside her husband Seamus from the early days of conflict.
Mr Eastwood said:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of life-long SDLP member Gertrude Mallon last night. Gertrude will long be remembered as a pillar of strength and a source of hope for SDLP members in Armagh during the darkest days of conflict, none more so than her devoted and beloved husband Seamus.
“Close family members of politicians often bear the greatest burden. And given Seamus’ towering political stature and fierce opposition to violence in south Armagh, Gertrude and their children had a lot to bear. But it was her strength in the face of such visceral opposition, her unyielding commitment to peace and her unconditional support for Seamus that contributed as much to our political process as any negotiator.
“My thoughts are with Seamus, their daughter Orla and granddaughter Lara at this difficult time.”
Former SDLP Leader John Hume said:
“Gertrude Mallon was the beating heart of the SDLP in South Armagh. A tower of support to Seamus, her contribution to peace, politics and people across this island is immeasurable.
“It’s often those closest to politicians who are forced to endure the most in difficult times. Gertrude’s caring nature from her background in nursing stood her in good stead as she looked after not only her own family but all those who needed support as the horrors of that time unfolded.
“Gertrude will be sorely missed by all who knew her. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam Uasal.
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Gertrude Mallon, wife of my friend and colleague, Seamus Mallon. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Seamus, Orla, and the wider family circle on what is the saddest of occasions for them.
“Gertrude made an outstanding contribution in her chosen profession of nursing and was a rock to her husband, Seamus, through the most difficult days of the Troubles here. She was a woman of courage who did not flinch even in the face of bomb and bullet. She will be sorely missed by Seamus and Orla and by all who loved and knew her. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam Uasal.