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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin has opened an online Book of Condolence following the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Cllr David Taylor had requested the Book of Condolence on behalf of The Ulster Unionist Party grouping on the Council to offer citizens of the District the opportunity to mark the sad passing of HRH Duke of Edinburgh and to enable sympathies to be extended to HM Queen and the Royal Family.

Prince Philip. Photograph: PolizeiBerlin

The Book of Condolence will allow residents of the district to extend their sympathies in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Cllr Devlin said, “I would like to express my sympathy to the Queen and all members of Duke of Edinburgh’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time.

“I am aware that the duke made a significant contribution to public life and was a patron of many hundreds of charities. Included was his own Duke of Edinburgh Award, an award which benefitted thousands of young lives in Northern Ireland.”

The Council's Book of Condolence is available at: WWW.NEWRYMOURNEDOWN.ORG

All messages in the online book will be recorded by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and sent directly to the Royal family.

Dedicated service

Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said "My deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family on the sad passing of HRH Prince Philip. What a tremendous example of dedicated service and commitment. He made a great and postive impact on so many over so many years."

Widely respected

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have also  expressed their sympathies following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. It is a sadness that I know will shared by countless others in Northern Ireland and right across the world.

“Prince Philip was widely respected for his active and dedicated service to the country and for his steadfast support to Her Majesty the Queen throughout her reign. 

“He had a strong interest in Northern Ireland and I had the privilege of meeting him on a number of his many visits here. 

“He had a profound and positive impact on thousands of our young people who found their purpose, passion and place in the world through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. 

“This inspirational programme is just one example of the many charities and voluntary organisations in which he was involved in right up to his retirement from public service at the age of 96.

“I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to the other members of the Royal family at this sad time.”

Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill said: “I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family on the death of her husband Prince Philip. 

“Over the past two decades there have been significant interventions by the British Royal family to assist in the building of relationships between Britain and Ireland

“It is appropriate that this contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation is rightly recognised. 

“To all those of a unionist tradition and of British identity - those who value and cherish the Royal family - I wish to acknowledge the sense of loss felt.”

"My strength and stay"

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Right Rev Dr David Bruce has also paid his tribute to the Duke.

In paying tribute to Prince Philip, Dr Bruce said, “It is with sadness that I learnt of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. On behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, and the Royal Family, on the loss of someone who was not only so central to their lives, but a figure who played his part, for over 70 years, in the national life of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”

Reflecting on his long life, most of which has been at Queen Elizabeth’s side, Dr Bruce continued, “Given his service to so many charities and organisations across these islands and farther afield, I am sure that people of all generations, will have been encouraged, helped or inspired by him, not least through his famous award scheme for young people, which bears his name.”

Dr Bruce continued, “Perhaps the greatest and most personal tribute to Prince Philip has, however, already been paid – in 1997, at a lunch to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. On that occasion the Queen said of her husband, “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.” 

“At this time of bereavement, I pray that Her Majesty The Queen, her family and all who mourn, may know the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and our ultimate comforter in times of sadness.”

The Council Book of Condolence will close for digital signatures on Friday 23 April 2021 at 6pm.

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