Tuesday, May 30, 2023


TRIBUTES have been paid to former Mournes councillor Brian Quinn who passed away suddenly last week. The 64-year-old initially represented the SDLP on Newry and Mourne District Council – on which he served as deputy mayor during its last year in existence (2014) – and subsequently on the larger local authority formed after a merger with Down District Council. In a statement, his party colleagues locally said that the passing of Mr Quinn last Wednesday had “affected the Mourne community in a profound way”. South Down MLA Colin McGrath stated that “the loss of a colleague is never easy, and the loss of former councillor Brian Quinn is a tragic one for the people of Mourne”.  “Brian was someone who was totally committed to his area, and was immensely proud to be held as a Mourne man,” he added.  “From first being co-opted onto Newry and Mourne Council in 2011, and then reelected in 2014 under the new Newry, Mourne and Down banner, Brian poured his heart and soul into his role as a councillor.  “He will be sadly missed by all of us within the SDLP.” Mournes councillor Laura Devlin said that the news of Mr Quinn’s death had come as “a major shock” to her, particularly given that it occurred so soon after the passing of his brother Sean.  “I want to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends, as this will be an incredibly difficult time for them,” she stated.  “I have incredibly warm memories of working alongside Brian on the council.  “He was someone that carefully considered all views, worked with all parties, and wanted to know how a decision would impact on the people of Mourne.  “They were always his priority, and I know they will feel his loss so keenly.” Mournes representative Dominic O’Reilly added: “The people of Mourne have suffered greatly in the last two years, with the passing of Seán Doran in November 2021 and now Brian Quinn.    “Any encounter I had with Brian was someone who had a terrific sense of humour and was always listening. “Brian was an example of the real work ethic in Mourne, which combined with the genuine love he had for his home and his people. “The result was a councillor and gentleman, whose impact, integrity, and listening ear will never be forgotten.”  Council chair Michael Savage, an SDLP councillor for Newry, posted online that he was “deeply saddened” to hear the news. “He was a gentleman who loved his family, community, and, of course, his bike – a solid human being who was a wellrespected representative and Mourne man to the core,” he wrote. On social media, the party’s Rowallane councillor Terry Andrews said that Mr Quinn was “a perfect gentleman, down to earth, kind, caring and always found time to have a chat, no matter where you would have seen him about on his travels”. South Down DUP MLA Diane Forsythe said that she was “shocked and devastated” by the news, and described the former Mournes councillor as “a hardworking community activist, proud Ballymartin man and one of the most kind-hearted people our local community has known”. “Always working to get better facilities for the Mournes and wanting to help everyone, as well as offering continued support to elected representatives after his time in council ended, he will be deeply missed,” she posted. Her party colleague, Mournes councillor Henry Reilly, wrote: “Brian was a decent man of integrity, who loved Mourne and all its people. “Brian was from a different tradition to me, but he did not care if you were Protestant, Catholic or other. “If you had a problem and he could help, he would do it with a heart and a half – Mourne will be a lesser place without him.” Mournes TUV councillor Harold McKee said that Mr Quinn had been “a hard worker, one who seldom failed to attend a meeting or community event”. “Brian had the Mourne community at heart, never failing to raise the issues of his constituents on their behalf,” he added. Ballymartin GAC stated that Mr Quinn would be “sorely missed by everyone in the village and, indeed, the entire community of Mourne”. “He was a great supporter of Ballymartin and worked very hard for the community here and the local region for many years as a councillor,” a social media post read. “He will be remembered fondly for being seen on his trademark trike, always giving Santa Claus a special entrance for the switching on of the Christmas lights in the village.”

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