Alliance leader pays tribute after death of party veteran Seamus Close

Former deputy leader of the Alliance Party Seamus Close has died.

The 71-year-old had recently been diagnosed with liver cancer.

He served as an Assembly Member for Lagan Valley from 1998 to 2007 and had held a number of senior roles within the Alliance Party, including chairman.

Alliance leader Naomi Long paid tribute, saying Mr Close was “larger than life and full of fun”.

“He was a straight-talker – people didn’t always like the message he brought but he gave it to them with both barrels, and he’s somebody I had huge affection for,” she said.

“So, genuinely really sad to have heard the news this morning.

“It’s a very, very sad day – he will be really missed.”

Mrs Long told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show that Mr Close, from Lisburn, played a significant role in her party’s negotiating team during the Good Friday Agreement.

“I knew he had been ill and I had phoned last week, but he was sleeping at the time I phoned so we never got to have a final chat, which is a shame because I would love to have just had an opportunity to speak to him, but that’s the life way goes,” she said.

“Everyone who knew Seamus will genuinely miss him.”

Read Full Story