An important figure for both peace and prosperity in Ireland
THE tributes paid to Edward Haughey in the wake of his death last week showed the breadth of his interest in politics on both sides of the border.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, along with former Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, were among those to pay tribute to the former Senator.
Fianna Fáil's Deputy Martin said: 'I was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Edward Haughey in a terrible accident last night. His contribution to the world of business and politics, in particular his work in the lead up to the Good Friday agreement, mark him out as an important figure in the progress of peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland over the past two decades.
'From a farming background in rural Louth he was educated by the Christian brothers in Dundalk and went on to found the immensely successfully Norbrook Labs in 1969 which today employs 1,700 people across the Northern Ireland with its hugely successful base in Newry.
'In all ways he was cross-border in his outlook and experience. He worked relentlessly on expanding the business and was distinguished by his international vision of the future of the business. Its role as one of the biggest exporters in Northern Ireland is a testament to his hard work and effort as a businessman that created many well paid opportunities for young people in the South Down, South Armagh and North Louth areas.
'However, his legacy goes beyond his commercial work. Successive Fianna Fáil Taoisigh Albert Reynolds and subsequently Bertie Ahern, as part of their investment in making sure we heard different voices from Northern Ireland, appointed him to Seanad Éireann in 1994 and 1997 respectively.
'His background work with the Ulster Unionist Party and active membership in the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body was an important part of the strategy of securing and implementing the Good Friday agreement. His commitment to peace and prosperity on the island continued during his time as an Ulster Unionist Peer in Britain's House of Lords from 2004.
'On a personal level he is fondly remembered by his former colleagues and staff in Seanad Éireann. I would like to pass my sincere condolences to his wife Mary and his three children on this sad occasion,' Deputy Martin concluded.