Robbie Robinson, one of the two men who died on the Mourne Mountains on Sunday, has been described as an “affable gentleman” who had served with distinction in the RUC.
A former district commander in Co Down, the 64-year-old was described as an “astute”, “intelligent” and “down-to-earth” police officer by a former colleague.
Richard Scott, chairman of the organisation Military and Police Support (MAPS) of West Tyrone, served in the RUC under Mr Robinson.
“He was in Omagh when I knew him and he was one of the best bosses that I ever worked under.
“He was chief inspector at that time and he was an absolute gentlemen, one of the most astute people I’ve ever met in my life. He was intelligent, he was down-to-earth and he knew how to get the job done well.”
He added: “I am absolutely devastated to find out.”
The chairman of the RUC George Cross Foundation, former assistant chief constable Stephen White, expressed sadness at the loss of a former colleague.
“Robbie was very well known and respected within the RUC family, where he served with distinction in some very difficult and demanding posts,” Mr White said.
“I would like to extend my sincere condolences, on behalf of all former colleagues, to his family circle.”
Former South Down MP Margaret Ritchie knew Mr Robinson when he was a district commander based in Downpatrick.
“I knew him because he was a district commander in Downpatrick and I was a local councillor at that time,” she said.
“I found him a very affable gentleman. Obviously he had his job to do, as I did, but I remember that he had a very good relationship with the local community at that time.”
Archdeacon Roderic West, rector of Holy Trinity Church, Banbridge, said: “He was church fete chairman for nine years and that is a role that he filled with great commitment and dedication.
“He enjoyed helping, supporting and encouraging others. He was caring, he was considerate, and he was reliable. He was a well known and well respected kind, thoughtful, caring, witty man – a real gentleman.”
Mr Robinson’s funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Parish Church in Banbridge on Wednesday at 1.30pm.
He is described in a funeral notice as “beloved husband of Barbara, much loved father of Neill and Laura, dear father-in-law of Hazel and Simon and loving grandad of Logan, Zack and Lucy”.