Tributes paid to former UUP leader

Lord MolyneauxLord Molyneaux
Lord Molyneaux
Tributes have been paid to former Ulster Unionist Party leader Lord Molyneaux who has died at the age of 94.

The current UUP leader Mike Nesbitt hailed James Molyneaux for bringing stability to his party and country during bloody and turbulent years in Northern Ireland. James Molyneaux led the UUP from 1979 to 1995. Serving in the RAF during the Second World War, he was also among the first British servicemen to enter the liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp in 1945. He became a life peer in 1997, taking the title Lord Molyneaux of Killead. Mr Nesbitt said the UUP had 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 said.

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“He led for 16 years, a remarkable feat given the party had no fewer than four different leaders in the 16 years prior to him taking over. 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.”