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Politicians, church leaders and charities across Northern Ireland have been paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.
NI First Minister Peter Robinson said he was "inspirational" while Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described him as "one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime.
The 95 year old - who led South Africa to democracy - died at home in Johannesburg.
He'll be buried on Sunday week.
The First Minister said: "I met Nelson Mandela on two occasions and was struck by his considerable humility and charisma. He did not see himself in terms of celebrity yet barely anyone throughout the world would not recognise his name and that is no small part because of his unique ability to connect personally with people.
Nelson Mandela carried out his role with a real talent to draw people and whole communities together. South Africa and the rest of the world had a tremendous respect for him.
When I asked how he dealt with opposition and the business of negotiation he commented that real negotiation is not with political opponents, rather with your own community and while they may feel you are stepping ahead of them, it is important to convince them to make the journey - a message so pertinent to our own peace process.”
The deputy First Minister said: "I offer my heartfelt sympathies to his family at this difficult time. I was honoured to meet Nelson Mandela the last time he was in Dublin and there is no doubt he was truly one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime.
Through his humility, strong negotiation skills and desire for justice he earned respect as an ambassador for peace, human rights and democracy across the globe. It was appropriate in 1993 this was recognised when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with former South African President FW De Klerk.
He will be remembered for demonstrating what is possible when people are committed to peace and reconciliation in areas of conflict. Nelson Mandela has left an indelible mark not only in South Africa but across the world. In 1997, at a critical stage of our peace process, I was honoured to lead, at the invitation of President Mandela, a delegation to South Africa for significant discussion with South African peace negotiators, which also included all parties from the North.
President Mandela’s interest in the success of the peace process was epitomised by the valuable contributions made by amongst others Cyril Ramaphosa, his Chief negotiator and the now Deputy President of African National Congress, who was a constant source of support to us throughout. Nelson Mandela was a true friend to Ireland.”
Nobel Laureate and former SDLP leader John Hume has paid tribute to Mr. Mandela who he said was a beacon for forgiveness and reconciliation who shone across the world.
Mr Hume said: “He not only stood against the injustice and inequality of apartheid, but rose above it and overcame it, leading his nation and his people on the road to freedom.
“Nelson Mandela was a strong supporter of the Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, consistently promoting the need for inclusive dialogue, consultation and negotiation as opposed to confrontation and conflict.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Mandela's family and the people of South Africa as they mourn the loss of an inspirational and courageous leader and a true peacemaker.”
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said:
‘The death of Nelson Mandela marks the end of an era. He represented for all of us a new beginning for all the people of South Africa.
‘His powerful faith in a better future for all sustained his country through the birth pangs of creating a new and finer society.
‘I join with so many others in remembering the people of South Africa in my thoughts and prayers at this time.’
Catholice Bishop John McAreavey, Chair of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference said:
“In death, as in life, Nelson Mandela has united and inspired people across the world. The outpouring of grief and expressions of admiration that followed his passing are a testament to his extraordinary legacy. Through courageous self-sacrifice Mandela led people to freedom in the fullest sense of the word - the lasting, spiritual freedom that can only be achieved through reconciliation and forgiveness. He was a true visionary and a powerful advocate for the need to engage in the harsh realities created by conflict in a spirit of truth, justice and human rights. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family and the people of South Africa at this time of mourning. May he rest in peace, and may his example continue to challenge and inspire all of us to make a real commitment to the work of justice and peace.”
The Presbyterian Moderator Dr Rob Craig has paid the following tribute to Nelson Mandela
I am saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela. With his passing the world has lost one of the great statesmen of recent times.
There is much to learn from the life of Nelson Mandela particularly in the way he did not repeat the mistakes of the successive governments that tried to silence him and suppress his ideals.
Rather, he embraced all the people of South Africa allowing their views and opinions to be heard. As a leader of all the people he united them in doing the best they could for their fellow countrymen under one flag and one national anthem, strengthened and enriched by the diversity of their individual identities.
The prayers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland are with his family and friends and for the nation of South Africa as they mourn the loss of the man who was inspirational and instrumental in transforming their country into what it is today.
Charities too have been paying tribute to the former South Africa leader.
Oxfam Ireland's Jim Clarken said “Oxfam honours President Mandela not only for his vision, courage and sacrifices for the liberation of South Africa but for promoting forgiveness and reconciliation following the end of apartheid.
“Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary human being. He carried the torch of justice, equality and peace for almost a century. He was a very warm person who treated everyone the same, as simply another human being.
“Madiba spoke for all oppressed people in the world. He was the most consistent and powerful voice for social justice in the 20th century.
“Madiba’s acts of immense sacrifice have inspired activists and organizations like Oxfam to continue to fight, against all odds, for equality and justice in a very unequal world.
“South Africa and the world are poorer for his passing.
"My deepest condolences go to H.E Graca Machel, President Mandela's entire family and all the people of South Africa.”
Trócaire Executive Director Eamonn Meehan said Nelson Mandela was “an icon for humanity who personified the notion that good can triumph even against the greatest odds”,
Trócaire’s involvement in the anti-apartheid movement dates back to the organisation’s foundation in 1973. South Africa was one of the first countries Trócaire began working in, a fact that was acknowledged by Mandela himself in 1998 when he said:
“South Africans have a long association with Trócaire, who have not only been staunch opponents of apartheid but have also initiated and supported projects within South Africa. The new and democratic South Africa shares the commitments of Trócaire, and indeed the people of Ireland, to the alleviation of poverty and the development of a human rights culture."
Trócaire’s Executive Director, Eamonn Meehan, today paid tribute to Nelson Mandela:
“The world has lost one of its true giants. Nelson Mandela’s suffering in prison symbolised the wrongs of apartheid, while his determination to build a peaceful nation out of the rubble of evil inspired the world to believe that peace and justice could overcome tyranny.
“Some of Trócaire’s earliest projects supported community and youth groups in South Africa, as well as supporting the education and training of trade union members. Irish people were resolute in their opposition to apartheid and supported our many appeals for trade sanctions against the apartheid regime. Even today, the support and commitment of the Irish people to the anti-apartheid movement is recognised in South Africa.
“In life Nelson Mandela symbolised our common humanity; in death he again unites people of all faiths, of all colours and of all backgrounds. While mourning his passing, we should also celebrate his life and commit ourselves to the ideals he embodied. As long as there are people willing to pay huge personal sacrifices to bring justice to others, Nelson Mandela’s spirit will never die.”
A County Londonderry man has been jailed for at least 20 years for the murder of his former partner's sister.
Phelim McNally shot dead 18-year-old Lauren O'Neill in William Court in Bellaghy in May last year.
Lauren's sister - 22 year old Brenda - McNally's former partner and also the mother of his two children, was seriously injured in the shooting.
McNally, from Station Park in Toomebridge, admitted charges of murder and attempted murder as his trial was about to begin last month.
He'd already been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
Today a judge ruled that he must serve a minimum of 20 years before he can be considered eligible for parole.
Mr Justice Treacy also imposed a prison sentence of 20 years for attempted murder.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott has blamed the UVF for the shooting of a 24-year-old woman in September.
Jemma McGrath was shot a number of times at her East Belfast home.
Mr Baggott confirmed for the first time yesterday that police believed members of the loyalist paramilitary group were behind the attack.
He told the Policing Board it was thought "individuals linked to the east Belfast UVF" were to blame, but it had not been sanctioned by its leadership.
Three police vehicles have been hit by gunfire in north Belfast in an the attack the Police are treating as attempted murder.
It happened at about 7 o'clock last night as the PSNI vehicles travelled along Crumlin Road, near Brompton Park, in the Ardoyne area of the city.
There are no reports of any injuries.
Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.
As South Africa's first black President, he led the transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities.
He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.
He died peacefully at his home in Johannesburg last night - surrounded by his family.
South African president Jacob Zuma made the announcement.
The Justice Minister, David Ford, is to consult on changing abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
Lord Trimble says Stormont's powers over welfare policy should be removed.
The idea of a new Northern Ireland flag has been raised by US diplomat Richard Haass.
He's set to return to Belfast next week - as his end-of-year deadline to resolve contentious issues looms.
Dr Haass also posed further questions to politicians on the flying of flags generally - such as where they should be flown, how a 'code of conduct' might work and how to deal with any breaches.
The diplomat, remains determined to meet his self-imposed deadline of the end of the year.
The Irish Football Association is to honour David Healy at the next UEFA Euro 2016 competitive home match at Windsor Park in Belfast.
The 34 year old who's announced his retirement from the game, scored 36 goals in 95 appearances for Northern Ireland in a career spanning 11 clubs, including Manchester United, Leeds, and Rangers.
During the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign David scored 13 goals becoming the top goal scorer in the history of the qualifying tournament.
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