SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has paid tribute to former South Antrim MLA Donovan McClelland following his death.
Mr McClelland, a former deputy speaker in the Assembly, passed away on Friday morning.
“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Donovan’s family and friends at this very sad time and particularly to his loving wife Noreen who has been a constant and caring companion throughout their lives," Mr Eastwood said.
“Donovan was a man with a sharp mind and a warm heart who served people and party with distinction as a councillor, an MLA and as deputy speaker of the Assembly.
“His contribution to peace on this island as an SDLP delegate to the Brooke/Mayhew talks and later in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement have left an indelible mark on our political dispensation. His was a life with a lasting legacy and one filled with love for his family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Noreen and their entire family at this time.”
SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon MLA added: “Donovan was a much loved husband and father. A man who made an impact on the lives of everyone who knew him, he’ll be sadly missed by so many.
“The contribution that he and his wife Noreen have made to peace and politics here cannot be overstated. They have given up so much to help people and communities most in need.
“My thoughts are with Noreen and the McClelland family. We’ll be here to support them all through this difficult time.”