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Tributes paid worldwide to a 'great light' Nelson Mandela


Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD tonight paid tribute to Nelson Mandela saying that, with his passing, 'a great light has been extinguished'.

Nelson Mandela was a freeman of our capital city and of the world.

"The name Mandela stirred our conscience and our hearts. It became synonymous with the pursuit of dignity and freedom across the globe.

"Today, a great light has been extinguished. The boy from the Transkei has finished his long walk. His journey transformed not just South Africa, but humanity itself.

"As we mark his passing, we give thanks for the gift of Nelson Mandela. We ask that his spirit continues to inspire, guide and enlighten us as we strive to bring freedom and dignity to the family of man, our brothers and sisters, across the world.

"I offer my deepest sympathies, on behalf of the Irish Government and people, to his family, to his friends and supporters, and to the Government and the people of South Africa."

Meanwhile, President Obama says Nelson Mandela "no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages" in live remarks at the White House, noting Mandela's commitment to equal rights.

Bill Gates wrote online, "Every time Melinda and I met Nelson Mandela, we left more inspired than ever. His grace and courage changed the world. This is a sad day."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed his sorrow upon hearing of the death of the heroic anti-apartheid leader, and said that the “great man” made the world “better for all.”

Actor Morgan Freeman, who portrayed the former President in the movie ‘Invictus’, said that the world has lost “one of the true giants of the past century.”

The two formed a friendship in the ninties when Mandela said he would choose Freeman to portray him in movie.

“He dedicated his life to a singular cause, a quest to free the black population of his homeland.  In accomplishing that, he freed South Africa’s white population and freed an entire nation.  And in freeing a nation, he changed the entire world.”

“Madiba’s journey may be over, but his legacy lives on in all of us,” Freeman said.

BBC presenter and Cork native Graham Norton said “rest well sir”, and recalled the occasion where he had met him.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams last night posted a message in Irish on Twitter expressing his sympathy to Madiba’s family and the nation of South Africa, and said that “we will have no-one like him again.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the former South African President.

“A great light has gone out in the world.  Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time:  a legend in life and now in death- a true global hero.

“Meeting him was one the great honours of my life.”

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson said:  “Few men in the history of mankind have had more impact on a nation and inspired the world.”

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson said:  Mr Mandela was a “true world figure” and his passing was a “massive loss”. 

Irish singer Bono is a well-known fan of the now deceased President.  His band changed their twitter account picture to an image of the leader.

Emma Jane Hade

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