Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Stephen Moore




Differences are set aside as councillors remember colleague

Stephen Moore

THERE was a sombre sense of deja vu at Lisburn Council on Tuesday evening when Mayor Trevor Lunn adjourned the monthly meeting as a mark of respect to Dunmurry Cross DUP Councillor Stephen Moore who passed away suddenly last week.

Mr. Lunn performed the same sad duty less than six months ago when Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Ferguson also died suddenly. And once again political differences were cast aside as representatives of all parties paid warm tributes to Mr. Moore.

One of the most moving came from Sinn Fein's Paul Butler who was perhaps one of Mr. Moore's greatest political opponents in the chamber.

Recalling the meeting at which members had reflected on Mr. Ferguson's passing he said: "Stephen came over to me as I went out through the door.

"He talked to me saying he was very sorry about what had happened and about what Michael's family were going through.

"That is something that will stick in my mind. At the end of the day we are all human in here."

Mr. Butler acknowledged that in the weeks ahead the chamber would once again be the scene of 'heated debates' but added: "Tonight is the night to reflect on the human side of us all."

Moving words were also spoken by the SDLP's Peter O'Hagan who recalled how he had been aged just five when his own father passed away, leaving his mother to bring up six children just as Mrs. Moore now faced the task of raising the couple's four young daughters without her partner.

Other councillors spoke of the grief and anguish they had witnessed at Mr. Moore's funeral last Friday in Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church as his widow, four young daughters and parents struggled to come to terms with what had happened. They also paid tribute to Minister, the Rev. Thomas Martin for the manner in which he conducted the service and DUP colleagues of the late councillor thanked other members for the support they had provided at such a sad time.

Warm tributes paid by all parties to their late colleague

TRIBUTES were led by the Mayor Councillor Trevor Lunn who said Mr Moore, who had just been elected two years ago, would have been a very capable representative for the whole of Dunmurry Cross. "He already was but he had a lot more to give" he said.

Alderman Edwin Poots (DUP) said Mr Moore was very keen to serve the people of Dunmurry and had done a good job until his health unfortunately caught up with him.

"We will all deeply miss him and miss the fun we had with him" he said.

Alderman Ivan Davis (Ulster Unionist) added: "Seeing Stephen's four little daughters running about happy as larry at events in Lisburn Museum and Linen Centre will stand out in my mind. It's important we do not forget that in the days that lie ahead there is an obligation on us to remember those children."

And Alderman Seamus Close (Alliance) told the hushed chamber: "We are told that death comes like a thief in the night but we do not take it fully to heart. But we here should really remember those words as we in this chamber have been struck by two sudden deaths in recent months.

'We can make all sorts of arrangements and plans but we do not know what is going to happen - it is not in our hands."

Cllr Peter O'Hagan (SDLP) said: "He died before he had achieved those things he had before him both as a parent and as a councillor.

"I know the devastation that can come with the loss of a father so at the present time, for days to come and I hope into the future our thoughts will turn to the family left behind." Ald Paul Porter (DUP) said: "This is not something I ever thought I would be doing. Stephen was a good friend and colleague. He was someone who will not be replaced."

And Councillor Ronnie Crawford (Ulster Unionist) said: "I was totally shocked. It took my breath away. I had to repeat his name to make sure I was hearing right. It is a great tragedy, particularly for his wife and children."

Family grateful for show of support

MR MOORE'S family have thanked everyone who contacted them to express sympathy. In a statement this week they said: "On behalf of his widow Stephanie, his four children, parents and family circle, we the family of the late Cllr Stephen Moore would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contacted us to express their sympathy on our sad loss. "We deeply appreciate the kindness shown to us by so many, including those who called at home, sent letters and cards and the hundreds who attended the funeral.

"Stephen will be sadly missed and we are comforted by the support and care we have received from the community."

Ulster Star