Burgess Pays Tribute To Late Lord Molyneaux

Councillor Robert Burgess, Group Leader for the Ulster Unionist Party in Down District Council, has paid tribute to the former Party Leader, Lord Molyneaux, who has passed away, aged 94.

[caption id="attachment_55389" align="alignleft" width="240"]Newry Mourne and Down UUP Councillor Robert Burgess has been selected to run in the Westminster election in the Strangford constituency. Newry Mourne and Down UUP Councillor Robert Burgess pays his respects to the late Lord Molyneaux.[/caption]

Cllr Burgess said: “The Ulster Unionist Party has today lost one of its greatest. Lord Molyneaux led the Party during some of Northern Ireland’s most bloody and turbulent years, providing leadership not only to the Ulster Unionist Party during that time, but also to the country.

“He led the Ulster Unionist Party through some very turbulent times between 1979 and 1995 which involved widespread terrorist campaigns and great political turmoil. He was a calming influence during the Hunger Strikes, the Anglo Irish Agreement and on through to the IRA and loyalist ceasefires.

“The stability he offered was critical, as was his unbending passion for securing Northern Ireland’s place within the Union. This was particularly key during the aftermath of the Anglo Irish Agreement, a challenge of seismic proportions within Unionism.

[caption id="attachment_55396" align="alignright" width="200"]The late Lord Molyneaux. The late Lord Molyneaux.[/caption]

“He had a history of serving his country before he took up public office, joining the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A venture that would see him take part in the liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp, something which stayed with him forever.

“I believe that experience crystallised the values that guided his political life. He was no showman, but a man of immense guile, playing the game of political chess, ignoring the cheap headlines to focus on strategic outcomes.

“Lord Molyneaux was held in extremely high regard and commanded respect from friend and foe alike. He represented all that was best in Ulster Unionism in terms of the service he gave to his country both as a public representative and in uniform.

“The sight of Lord Molyneaux as Ulster Unionist Party Leader wearing his medals as he laid the wreath on behalf of the Party at the Cenotaph in London every Remembrance Sunday was a powerful image which epitomised the ideals of dignity and service which he embodied.

“On behalf of the Party, I give thanks for a long life, well lived, in dedicated service to the people. I can pay no finer tribute than to say that Jim was a true Ulster Unionist and a gentleman,” added Cllr Burgess.