Leading Northern Ireland trade unionist Inez McCormack has died, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has announced.
The well known women’s rights campaigner from Derry had been battling cancer.
Mrs McCormack, who was in her 60s, counted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton among her friends and was played by Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep in a play about her life.
Active in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland in the 1960s, she rose to become the first female president of the ICTU.
Current president Eugene McGlone said her track record in women’s and human rights was “unequalled”.
“Her work in promoting the cause of labour and social justice in Northern Ireland was known world-wide,” he said.
“Inez’s commitment to social justice began in the ‘60s when she became active in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement.
“She followed this on when she became a trade union and equality activist before becoming the full-time official of the National Union of Public Employees. She also held the post when NUPE was reconstituted in a merger as Unison.
“Her unstinting passion was recognised and she received many justifiable accolades.”
Patricia McKeown, regional secretary of Unison, said: “The sad day thousands of workers and trade union members have been dreading has come and Inez McCormack, has left us - but only in the flesh.
“Inez will never leave us in spirit.
“She has touched the lives of thousands of ordinary women and men and she has succeeded in what she set out to do. She has made a difference.”