Assembly tribute to Sir John Gorman

Former Ulster Unionist Party MLA Sir John Gorman, who died last month at the age of 91.

Former Ulster Unionist Party MLA Sir John Gorman, who died last month at the age of 91.

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Tributes were paid in the Assembly yesterday to former deputy speaker and UUP MLA Sir John Gorman.

The WWII hero, who represented North Down from 1998 to 2003, died on May 27.

Assembly Speaker William Hay said yesterday that as deputy speaker, Sir John enjoyed “the same huge respect as he did within the wider community”.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said: “To say Sir John Gorman lived a full life would not even begin to do him justice.

“He was a war hero at 21, decorated with a Military Cross for his actions at Normandy as a Tank Commander with the Irish Guards.

“After the war he was a District Inspector in the RUC before pursuing a career with BOAC, the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation, before returning home to head up the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Institute of Directors.

“If that wasn’t enough, in 1996 he was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum for Political Dialogue serving as its chairman.”

He said that both his parents were unionists and both were Catholics, “a faith to which Sir John remained true all his days”.

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell paid tribute to “the massive contribution he made to society” while Mitchell McLaughlin of Sinn Fein said that Sir John had always managed to keep his cool during a time of tremendous political challenges.

“I will always fondly remember him,” he said.

The DUP’s Peter Weir, Stephen Farry of Alliance, Basil McCrea of NI21, Jim Allister of TUV and Green MLA Steven Agnew also paid fulsome tribute to his life of service.

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