Charlie Poots, a founding member of the DUP, died this morning.
Just yesterday it emerged that Jeffrey Donaldson’s father - Jim Donaldson - had died.
DUP Leader Arlene Foster said: “Charlie was a founding member of the DUP, standing for election first as a Protestant Unionist in 1969.
“He served in both the Northern Ireland Assembly from 73-74 and the Constitutional Convention from 75-76, but it was in Local Government where Charlie gave a lifetime of service.
“He spent 24 years as a Councillor in Lisburn, including serving as Deputy Mayor in 1991/92 before stepping down from elected politics in 1997.
“Charlie’s service to the people of Lisburn was marked in 2009 when he was made a Freeman of the City of Lisburn and his loss will be felt by many people, but particularly in that city and amongst the people to whom he gave such dedicated representation.
“The tradition of service to the people did not end with Charlie’s retirement however, but continues today through his son Edwin within the Northern Ireland Assembly and his grandson Caleb McCready who was elected as a DUP Councillor in the Downshire area of Lisburn just last year.
“My heartfelt sympathies are with my friend and Executive colleague Edwin and the wider Poots family at this most difficult of times. Having been involved in caring for Charlie over recent years I know how difficult it was not to be close to him as he approached the end of his life.
“The current circumstances make it difficult for us all to express our thoughts directly with those who have lost someone.
“However, I hope they can take some comfort from the very many people who will have been impacted by Charlie’s life and work and who will feel his loss.”
DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said: “I was very sad to hear of the death of Edwin Poots’s father Charlie.
“He was one of a dwindling generation who were the founding members of the DUP.
Charlie was one of a kind and while he will be sadly missed by his family, he will also be greatly mIssed by many others who deeply respected him”.
In a statement the Lagan Valley DUP said: “It is with sincere regret to hear of the passing this morning of Mr Charlie Poots father of our colleagues Edwin Poots MLA and Grandfather to Cllr Caleb McCready.
“Charlie was a founder member of the DUP and a Freeman and former Deputy Mayor of Lisburn Borough Council.
“Regrettably these are unprecedented times.Please keep the Poots family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve at this very difficult time”.
In a Tweet DUP MLA Paul Givan said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Edwin Poots and the wider family circle in the loss of his father, Charlie.
“Charlie was a founding member of the DUP and first stood with Dr Paisley in 1969”.