Saturday 20 December 2014

President pays tribute to late Irish writer Sam McAughtry

Published 29/03/2014 | 02:30

The late Sam McAughtry
The late Sam McAughtry

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the late writer Sam McAughtry as a man of "immense talent and integrity".

The writer and broadcaster Sam McAughtry died at the age of 91 after a long illness.

His works included 'Play It Again Sam', 'Blind Spot', 'Sam McAughtry's Belfast', 'McAughtry's War' and 'Belfast Stories'.

Today the President Higgins said in a statement: “I have learned with sadness of the death of the author, broadcaster, journalist and former Senator, Sam McAughtry.

"He will be remembered as a man of immense talent and integrity, who continually and courageously sought ways of making a positive and cross-community contribution to the discourse of peace in his native Northern Ireland."

Mr Higgins said he will be remembered for his "lifelong focus" on the ultimate prize of peace and reconciliation.

He will be especially remembered for his ongoing efforts, his writings and his personal example in the fight for a non-sectarian society, and maintaining a lifelong focus on the ultimate prize of peace and reconciliation; and also his efforts to unite Trade Union members in particular in that cause.

Mr McAughtry's memoir, 'On The Outside Looking In', was published in 2003.

A statement from his publisher, Blackstaff Press, said: "It is with great sorrow that we have learned today of the death of the writer and broadcaster Sam McAughtry.

"He was a great ambassador for Belfast and a brilliant storyteller. We will miss his wit, honesty and integrity."

The north Belfast Protestant worked for peace and understanding across Ireland and served as a member of Seanad Eireann.

In his first address in 1996, he said: "I am a hybrid unionist in that I am happy to live in the United Kingdom but I am happier still to be Irish and to proclaim my Irishness."

He helped establish the Peace Train demonstrations between Belfast and Dublin and was a trade unionist and member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party.

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