Hundreds of people took part in an online Zoom gathering last week to remember the life of Seamus Mallon who died 24 January 2020.

Reflecting on the first anniversary of the former Deputy First Minister, Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said, "Séamus Mallon was a hero of mine. He was mentor to me. But most of all, Séamus Mallon was my friend. I miss him dearly and it is hard to believe we are already marking his first anniversary.

"The enormity of Séamus’s contribution to public life on this island may never be fully understood or appreciated. His interest was not in plaudits but only in the common good. I am reminded of a line from his maiden speech in the House of Commons.  He said, “We have two stark and clear choices. We can live together in generosity and compassion or we can continue to die in bitter disharmony.

Just some of the online attendance to remember and celebrate Seamus Mallon.
Just some of the online attendance to remember and celebrate Seamus Mallon.

"Séamus carried that philosophy and approach into every part of his public life and it inspired his memoire, ‘A Shared Home Place.’  He loved this island and her people; he committed his life, both in local leadership and as an elected representative to working towards uniting people.

"During his funeral homily, Archbishop Eamon Martin referred to Séamus’s deep abhorrence for violence from wherever it came from.  He spoke about his love for this island and his disgust for violence, hatred and naked sectarianism.  He spoke of how Séamus witnessed needless bloodshed in our own community."

Mr McNulty continued "Séamus left a legacy that not many can match. Along with colleagues of the ilk of Hume, Rodgers, McGrady, Hendron and many others they helped lift this place from the depths of despair towards a brighter new dawn.

"In time the SDLP and the community locally will be able to gather and mark his contribution in an appropriate and personal way. In these extraordinary times it was fitting that this week we were joined virtually by his daughter Orla and his granddaughter Lara, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and former First Minister David Trimble along with hundreds of friends from the world of politics and the media to remember him and to celebrate the contribution he made to this island in marking his anniversary.  It was a beautiful, thought provoking and poignantly powerful event to remember and reflect on the man Tommy Sands referred to as ‘one of the last great Irish Chieftains.’’  

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