East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat has paid tribute to former Limavady SDLP mayor Barry Doherty who passed away last week.
Mr Dallat said: “The Parish Priest of Limavady Monsignor Bryan McCanny in his homily at the Funeral Mass for Barry Doherty described him as ‘the salt of the earth’. He could not have been more accurate. I have no doubt the huge number of people who turned out on a cold and wet Sunday morning to bid him farewell would have agreed.
“Barry was indeed the salt of the earth to his family, friends and to the wider community that he faithfully served for 24 years as a Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor of Limavady. But he was much more than that; he was an inspiration to anyone who wanted to do the best for their community, who wanted to concentrate on the positives rather than the negatives and he was inspiration when it wasn’t popular or perhaps even wise to be involved in public life because of the dangers and risks.
“Barry’s passing is a tremendous loss to his wife Agnes, his family and friends but he is also a great loss to the wider community who held him in the highest esteem and sought his advice and wisdom many years after he retired from public life.
“The SDLP owes a great debt to Barry and his late brother Arthur who projected a message of hope for this place and continually urged those who stuck to the path of peace to pursue their dreams and their visions for a new North free from the violence and hatred of the past.
“In the years ahead Barry’s memory will be etched in the history of time not just as a political figure and civic leader but a person who rose above the cut and thrust of politics to leave a lasting memory of a good person, deeply religious and well informed about the path he wished to follow.
“He served his community well and his family and friends should be justly proud at this sad time when even the good must depart for a better world. Certainly in the SDLP we will remember Barry with pride and gratefulness that we had the honour to know him and have his wisdom and support for a very long time. May he rest in peace.”