President Michael D. Higgins expected to attend Ivan Cooper funeral

Ivan Cooper with President Michael D. Higgins last October.
Ivan Cooper with President Michael D. Higgins last October.

The President Michael D. Higgins is expected to be among the chief mourners at the funeral of the late Ivan Cooper in Derry this afternoon.

The civil rights leader passed away at the age of 75 on Wednesday.

Reacting to news of the former Northern Ireland Labour Party and SDLP member's death this week President Higgins said he had maintained an "unshakeable belief in the universality and indivisibility of human rights" and "was a beacon of hope and the embodiment of the power of non-violent actions in pursuit of justice."

Ivan Cooper's 'unshakeable belief in human rights' was an inspiration, says President Michael D. Higgins
Last October, speaking in the Guildhall at the October 5, 1968 commemorations, the President referred to Mr. Cooper's chairmanship of the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee (DCAC) in the epoch-making months that followed.

"May I add my own thanks to Ivan, as President of Ireland, for the courage, the leadership and the dedication to the cause of justice - justice in all its forms - that he has demonstrated throughout his political career," he said.

Video: Civil Rights Movement was crucible that forged Ivan Cooper and John Hume, says President Higgins