Civil rights leader Austin Currie to be laid to rest following two services

The first will take place on Friday morning in Co Kildare before a second service in his native Co Tyrone on Saturday
Civil rights leader Austin Currie to be laid to rest following two services

By Rebecca Black, PA

Civil rights leader Austin Currie is set to be laid to rest following two services in Co Kildare and Co Tyrone.

Mr Currie died in his sleep at his home in Derrymullen, Co Kildare, on Tuesday.

He had recently celebrated his 82nd birthday.

Tributes have been paid across Ireland to Mr Currie, one of the key figures in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland who also helped to found the nationalist SDLP party and was elected to parliament on both sides of the Irish Border.

Socialist Democratic Labour Party leaders
Socialist Democratic Labour Party leaders, left to right, Austin Currie, Gerry Fitt, John Hume and Paddy Devlin, during the meeting at Cappagh (PA)

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described Mr Currie as “one of the outstanding politicians of his generation” while DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson described him as “someone I held in very high respect, a decent man, a man who cared passionately about Northern Ireland”.

A service is to be held at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Allenwood at 11am on Friday.

Another service will take place on Saturday morning at St Malachy’s Church in Edendork, Co Tyrone, before burial in the adjoining cemetery.

The family have urged mourners to respect government guidelines at all times.

Both services will be streamed online.

Mr Currie was born in Co Tyrone, the eldest of 11 children.

His decision to squat at a council house in Caledon in June 1968 is widely seen as the beginning of the civil rights movement, which challenged inequality and discrimination against Catholics.

He went on to create the SDLP along with John Hume and Gerry Fitt in 1970.

In 1989, he won a seat in Dublin West for Fine Gael and pursued a career as TD and minister in the Republic until he retired in 2002.

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