James McClure ‘man of steadfastness’

James McClure (right) with Rev Ian Paisley at a Twelfth demonstration in Portglenone in 2008
James McClure (right) with Rev Ian Paisley at a Twelfth demonstration in Portglenone in 2008

One of the DUP’s founding fathers, James McClure, will be buried on Wednesday.

The veteran Coleraine councillor’s funeral will be conducted in the town’s Free Presbyterian church before his burial in the adjoining cemetery.

The funeral cortege will leave his home on Bushmills Road at 1.15pm for the church service at 2pm.

Tributes have continued to be paid to the DUP president, who died in hospital on Sunday after an illness.

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey, who was a member of the same Independent Orange Order lodge and the same Apprentice Boys of Derry club as Mr McClure, said: “It was with a great sense of sadness and loss that I learned of the passing of a dear friend and colleague James McClure.

“James McClure was a man of steadfastness and loyalty. The organisations that he was a member of knew this, and the contribution that he made to them was reflected in the high esteem in which he was held.”

Mr Storey said that the Independent Orange Order “was very close to James’s heart”.

“His dedication and commitment was reflected in that he served in all senior posts, from Imperial Grand Master, to county, district and private lodge level. Even this year, despite failing health, James did not want to miss the Twelfth. He was in the lodge car.”

Ballymoney DUP councillor John Finlay said: “I knew James for over 35 years and found him to be a man of total integrity and dedication who never wavered in his commitment to the unionist and Protestant cause.

“As a councillor in Ballymoney for a short time in the 1980s and for 40 years in Coleraine, James was renowned for his hard work and outstanding service to the community and this was reflected in the support he received at each election. He also courageously and consistently stood up for his Christian principles without fear.”

The DUP Mayor of Coleraine, George Duddy, has said that Mr McClure served the town’s people “tirelessly” for 37 years since his election in 1977.

Mr McClure was mayor on three occasions and deputy mayor 11 times.

Cllr Duddy said: “Having worked as a colleague of James in the DUP I can testify he is an irreplaceable force for good who will be sorely missed by his colleagues.”