Tributes to a 'fearless advocate of peaceful politics'
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
THE death of former SDLP MLA, PJ Bradley, last Tuesday evening was met with widespread sadness in Newry and beyond.
Former colleagues publically paid glowing tribute to a man SDLP leader Collum Eastwood described as a "distinguised patriot" and who served as party spokesperson for agriculture whilst serving as an MLA for South Down between 1998 and 2001.
The father-of-eight, who operated as an estate agent in his constituency in Warrenpoint, died late last Tuesday (February 28) evening following a short illness.
His Requiem Mass took place on Friday at St Mary's Church, Burren, followed by interment in the adjoining cemetery.
Former SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley, expressed his sorrow at his former party colleague's passing and, speaking of his namesake, said: "He was a fearless advocate of peaceful politics and, despite enduring much intimidation and many threats, he never bowed to them.
"His many friends across this island and further afield will be saddened by his passing, however they will recall with fondness his bright personality and infectious humour."
Hailing Mr Bradley's endeavours to see the Narrow Water Bridge project being realised, Dominic added: "PJ was also one of the early proponents of the Narrow Water Bridge, before it was either profitable or popular and he kept pressure up throughout his career on that particular issue as he saw the economic benefit to commercial life and to the tourist industry.
"I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Leonitia and to all his family members at this sad time."
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood believed that compassion was intrinsic in shaping Mr Bradley's political ideals.
"Politics was in PJ's blood," he said.
"A fierce advocate for his local community in Burren and for all communities across South Down, his compassionate and considered way will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
"PJ's contribution to Ireland and his life-long work across the island to develop and support the peace process distinguishes him as a patriot."
SDLP MP for South Down, Margaret Ritchie spoke of her "sadness" at the loss of a man of "considerable political fortitude".
"PJ put the needs of the community in Burren, Ballyholland and Warrenpoint first. He had a forensic detail of the local community and of their needs and requirements as well as the constituency of South Down," she said.
Meanwhile, SDLP Newry City Councillor Gary Stokes lamented at the loss of his "friend and mentor".
"For a lot of us he was the political representative we aspired to be like. His work ethic and close connection to the people he represented were second to none.
"He was a proud Irish man who passionately wanted the South Down area and his country to succeed.
“Over the years in the SDLP I always said we could do with a few more PJ Bradleys. Sadly now we have lost the great man himself."
Mr Bradley was a member of Burren Gaelic Athletic Club and an author who recently completed a book on the local history of Burren.
He was also a former estate agent with a business in Warrenpoint which was taken over by his son Martin.
He was the husband of Leontia and father of Martin, Joanne, Deborah, Catherine, Stephanie, Sinead, William and Miceal.
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