Funeral mass for former deputy first minister Seamus Mallon

Former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon’s funeral mass will take place on Monday Credit: Niall Carson/PA

The funeral mass for Seamus Mallon, Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister, is being held in Co Armagh.

Mr Mallon, who as SDLP deputy leader was an architect of the Northern Ireland peace process, died on Friday aged 83.

The service, which is expected to be attended by hundreds, will be celebrated at noon on Monday, in Saint James of Jerusalem Church at Mullaghbrack.

RTE will broadcast the mass on its digital platform online and via its app.

Mr Mallon was a former teacher who lived in Markethill, Co Armagh, a largely Protestant town, before becoming a politician.

He was a key figure in negotiating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and after his death tributes were paid from across the political divide.

Mr Mallon implemented the newborn political powersharing at the devolved parliament at Stormont and his former partner in government and ex-first minister Lord David Trimble said he was a committed democrat who lived up to his word.

Former US President Bill Clinton, who was in office at the time of the Good Friday Agreement and championed peace talks in the 1990s, also paid a touching tribute to Mr Mallon.

He said: “From his earliest entry into politics, Seamus never wavered from his vision for a shared future where neighbours of all faiths could live in dignity—or from the belief he shared with John Hume and the entire SDLP that nonviolence was the only way to reach that goal.

Books of condolence opened in Belfast City Hall on Saturday and at the Guildhall in Londonderry on Sunday have been signed by hundreds of people.

Mr Mallon is survived by his daughter Orla.

The chief celebrant of the mass will be the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, alongside Fr Michael Woods, parish priest of Tandragee.