Shock and sadness at death of Derry campaigner Sean Morrin

Tributes have been paid to Derry trade unionist and gay rights campaigner Sean Morrin.

Mr Morrin, a founding member of Foyle Pride, the north’s first LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) member of trade union Unison and well known across Ireland for his work with The Rainbow Project, passed away on Saturday.

He was 48.

Director of The Rainbow Project John O’Doherty described Mr Morrin as a “hero”.

“Sean was an amazing advocate who devoted his life to working and supporting other people and changed the lives of so many. The Rainbow Project, the LGBT community and the Foyle community have suffered a great loss with Sean’s passing and he will never be forgotten.

“Sean was a hero and a giant and we are all better off for having known him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sean’s family and friends at this very sad time,” he said.

Derry’s MP Mark Durkan said he was deeply saddened to learn of Mr Morrin’s death.

“Sean was not just a strong public campaigner but also a sound counsellor helping many individuals and families.

“The difference he made, the understanding he generated and the confidence he built were not confined to the gay community but were about enabling all of us to have fuller, better, happier lives.

“He didn’t just want people to be liberated and proud in their sexuality – he wanted all of us to be free from prejudice, fear and intolerant shame.

“Sean brightened our life and broadened our understanding. His sad death robs us – but his honest, hopeful life has left a legacy of betterment.

“He made a real difference for the reality of difference, and stood up for the integrity of the individual. We can all remember him with pride.”

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said she was “shocked and saddened”.

“I have worked with Sean over many years in regards to his role in the Rainbow Project and hosted events at the Assembly.

“He was a tireless campaigner for equality, human rights and the most marginalised in our community. I would like to pass on my sympathy to his family and friends at this time, they are in our thoughts and prayers.

Derry’s Mayor Martin Reilly said Mr Morrin had worked “tirelessly for the gay community campaigning for equality.”

“His death will have a huge impact on the local community and my sympathies go out to his family and friends at this very sad time,” he said.

Mr Morrin’s funeral takes place on Thursday. Requiem Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Creggan, at 10am.