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President Higgins pays tribute to former Senator Sam McAughtry

McAughtry, who was a writer and broadcaster, had played a role in the peace process throughout his life.

Sam McAughtry
Sam McAughtry
Image: Blackstaff Press via Facebook

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has led tributes to writer and former Senator Sam McAughtry who has died after a long illness.

McAughtry, who was from a loyalist area of north Belfast, had played a role in the peace process throughout his life and had helped set up the Peace Train between Belfast and Dublin.

President Higgins said that McAughtry was a man of “immense talent and integrity” who had made a “positive and cross-community contribution” towards peace in Northern Ireland.

McAughtry died on Friday at the age of 91.

He had served in the Royal Air Force, and worked as a labourer and a civil servant before becoming a full time writer.

In a statement, his publishers Blackstaff Press said that McAughtry’s great talent as a writer as “his ability to write in a voice that immediately connected with people, because it was direct and sincere and full of emotion, whether it was telling Belfast stories, talking about his life in Tiger’s Bay or writing about the death of his brother”.

His books included McAughtry’s war, Play it Again, Sam, and Belfast Stories. His first book, The Sinking of the Kenbane Head, was published in 1977 and his last book, On The Outside Looking In, was published in 2003.

He was one of the few Protestants from Northern Ireland who served in the Seanad after being selected in 1996.

President Higgins paid tribute to McAughtry’s work.

“He will be especially remembered for his ongoing efforts, his writings and his personal example in the fight for a non-sectarian society, and maintaining a lifelong focus on the ultimate prize of peace and reconciliation; and also his efforts to unite trade union members in particular in that cause,” President Higgins said.

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