Tributes paid to Prince Philip

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By Q Radio News

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have issued a joint statement expressing their sympathies following the death of Prince Philip on behalf of the Stormont Executive.

Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon, Prince Phllip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, died aged 99.

The Duke of Edinburgh "passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle", the palace said in a statement.

First Minister Arlene Foster lead the tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Mrs Foster said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. It is a sadness that I know will shared by countless others in Northern Ireland and right across the world.

“Prince Philip was widely respected for his active and dedicated service to the country and for his steadfast support to Her Majesty the Queen throughout her reign.

“He had a strong interest in Northern Ireland and I had the privilege of meeting him on a number of his many visits here.

“He had a profound and positive impact on thousands of our young people who found their purpose, passion and place in the world through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

“This inspirational programme is just one example of the many charities and voluntary organisations in which he was involved in right up to his retirement from public service at the age of 96.

“I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to the other members of the royal family at this sad time.”

Ms O’Neill said: “I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and her family on the death of her husband Prince Phillip.

“Over the past two decades there have been significant interventions by the British Royal family to assist in the building of relationships between Britain and Ireland

“It is appropriate that this contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation is rightly recognised.

“To all those of a unionist tradition and of British identity – those who value and cherish the Royal family – I wish to acknowledge the sense of loss felt.”

 

Prince Phillip with the Queen in Bushmills Co Antrim 2016

Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken described the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh as an “extremely sad day in the life of our nation which will be reflected in Northern Ireland”.

“Prince Philip will be fondly remembered as someone who dedicated his life to service and was a constant companion by the side of Her Majesty The Queen,” he said.

“He will be sadly missed.”

Colum Eastwood, leader of the nationalist SDLP, also expressed his condolences and said his thoughts are with “all those in Northern Ireland who feel a strong connection and affinity with Prince Philip and the British Royal family”.

“The people of these islands are joined together by our common history and shared experiences of historic conflict. Phillip and his family were directly affected by the conflict on this island and between these islands. I want to acknowledge the role that he played alongside Queen Elizabeth in building relationships and promoting reconciliation, most visibly during their recent visit to Ireland. He had a part to play in sustaining the new bond of shared endeavour across these islands,” he said.

“This will be a difficult moment for many in our community. It is important that we all respect that and continue to work together to heal the divisions of our past and build a more united community.”

Meanwhile,

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has expressed her condolences.

The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving royal consort in British history, leaving four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family at this very sad time,” said Mrs Long.

“My condolences in particular go to Her Majesty The Queen, who has lost her husband and constant companion and support of more than 70 years. No matter your role or how public your life is, that is a devastating thing to experience.

“It is important we recognise the work HRH Prince Philip carried out, not only in support of Her Majesty The Queen, but also in service to the country and Commonwealth, and vitally with young people in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Scheme, which encouraged millions of young people across the globe to focus on self development and public service. That will be his lasting legacy.”

Irish premier Micheal Martin has led tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Philip died at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday.

The Taoiseach was among a number of Irish politicians to express their condolences after his death.

Mr Martin said: “Saddened to hear of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time.”

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “I want to express sincere condolences to all British people on the sad passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“Our thoughts and solidarity are with you on a very sad day for the United Kingdom.”

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “Sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth and family on the death of her husband Prince Phillip.

“Sympathies to those of a British identity on our island, for whom his death will be felt as a great loss.”

Irish President Michael D Higgins also expressed his “great sadness” at the duke’s death.

“On behalf of the people of Ireland, I wish to convey my condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her children, her extended family and the people of the United Kingdom,” he said.

He added: “For over 60 years, and as husband to Britain’s longest serving monarch, Prince Philip served the British people with an unfailing commitment and devotion to duty.

“In the course of his long service he frequently brought an air of informality to otherwise formal occasions.

“His distinctive presence and unique sense of humour put participants at ease and always engaged those who encountered him.

“Prince Philip was a steadfast support to Queen Elizabeth II.

“He accompanied the Queen on her many visits to Northern Ireland and also on her historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011.

“I recall with a special appreciation how welcome he made Sabina and I feel in 2014, when I was making the first State Visit by an Irish Head of State to the United Kingdom in 2014.

“My hope is that these visits in 2011 and 2014, which he shared, will continue to be symbols of what we share as neighbours in friendship, peace and a sustainable future.”

He added the Irish saying “Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis”, meaning may his holy soul be on the right side of God.

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has expressed his sympathy to Queen Elizabeth on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said he was saddened to hear of the death of Philip.

“Prince Philip has been a regular visitor to Northern Ireland in connection with his widespread charitable work,” he added.

“Many pupils from right across the community here have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

“However, his visit to Ireland along with Queen Elizabeth in 2011 stands out as a cherished moment of peace and reconciliation and as an historic demonstration of the importance of mutual understanding and respectful relationships between these islands.

“I will offer prayers for Queen Elizabeth and her family at this difficult personal time and will pray for the happy repose of the soul of Prince Philip.”

 

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