SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has paid tribute to the life and legacy of Civil Rights giant Ivan Cooper following the sad news of his passing today. The Mid Ulster MLA said that Ivan Cooper’s driving ambition was to deliver civil rights, equality and fairness for people regardless of their background.
Mr McGlone said, “Ivan Cooper was a working-class Protestant man who saw a common injustice and inequality that had taken root in Protestant and Catholic communities. He dedicated his life to fighting it.
“As an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement, few have contributed as much to peace and equality on this island than Ivan. Organising marches in Derry for the right to a home, the right to a job and the right to a vote, Ivan often put himself in the path of danger to secure justice for people in every community. On many occasions that meant that he suffered vilification and violence for his convictions. It never stopped him. Alongside his close friend John Hume, he helped blaze the trail that led to the Good Friday Agreement.
“Ivan’s unwavering belief that people on this island should come together to fight for common ideals and in their common interest remains a lesson for us all.
“A man of sharp contrasts, sharp intellect and, on occasion, sharp tongue, he stands as a giant in the story of this island.
“He will always hold a special place in the hearts of SDLP members.
“My deepest sympathies to Ivan’s wife Frances, his daughters Sinead and Bronagh and his entire family circle at this difficult time and with colleagues, I attended Ivan’s funeral today.”