SDLP Foyle Westminster candidate Mark Durkan has expressed his deep sadness at the death of former director of the North West Institute of Further and Higher Education Peter Gallagher – describing him as someone who radiated a ‘grá’ for Derry and Donegal and showed a love for the language, lore and landscape of the whole North West.
Mr Durkan said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Peter Gallagher who made such a strong contribution to education and training in the North West for so many years.
“As a further and higher education leader on both sides of the border he was developing and delivering the skills agenda before it even became a policy concept.
“My first professional encounter with Peter came when I was Deputy President of USI and he was principal of the then Letterkenny RTC.
“In all my dealings with Peter I found a man of care and consideration who could work through issues, talk with great insight and advocate with some passion.
“He radiated a ‘grá’ for Derry and Donegal and showed a love for the language, lore and landscape of the whole North West.
“He was a man of keen knowledge with a rounded outlook who took the long view.
“I appreciated his counsel and encouragement when, after the Good Friday Agreement, we were drawing up the new government departments for the North and terms and remits for North-South implementation bodies.
“It was personally fitting therefore when I was able to nominate him to serve on the North-South language body Foras Na Gaeilge.
“I also recall his enthusiasm and ideas for prospects at Fort George and Ebrington – including early advocacy of a footbridge.
“In his college role Peter Gallagher managed change, expansion and diversification with effect even when he had his own misgivings about some of the policy context.
“Peter got on with things and he really got on well with people.
“His partnership instinct ensured that community interests and the requirements and potential of local businesses were well reflected in his institute’s outreach.
“As the founding patron of NORBIC Peter pioneered new linkages between teaching, enterprise, innovation and sector support with an approach that became a pathfinder for others.
“I extend my sincere condolences to Peter’s wife Margaret and to all of his family and friends at this very sad time.”