Glen Barr left belief in violence behind to work for peace: Eastwood

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has expressed sympathy to the family of the late Glen Barr and said that although he strongly disagreed with the former loyalist leader’s paramilitary involvement in the 1970s, he strongly approved of his commitment to peace in later life.

Mr. Eastwood was speaking after Mr. Barr passed away on Tuesday.

He said: “I was saddened to hear of the death of Glen Barr and wish to express my deep sympathy to his family and friends and to the broader loyalist community in Derry.

“Obviously Glen’s early life began with a belief in violence which my party stood so strongly against, but it is right to acknowledge that he came to embrace and work for reconciliation and peace.

“That commitment was evident in his friendships across party lines and across the island of Ireland.”

The Foyle MLA said Mr. Barr had played a key role in helping to unite people across the community divide through his later peace-building work.

“Glen’s passion and his ultimate legacy was in renewing the modern memory towards the nationalists and unionists who died side by side in the horrors of the First World War.

“Glen was one of those behind the events which brought together Irish Presidents and the British monarchy in Messines to remember in dignity all of our dead.

“May he rest in peace,” said Mr. Eastwood.