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Pat was 'a great Newry man'

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Pat was 'a great Newry man' thumbnailFormer Mayor Pat McElroy

A WARM tribute has been paid to former SDLP Mayor of Newry and Mourne Council, Pat McElroy, by party colleague Councillor Gary Stokes.

Mr McElroy passed away on Friday, and his funeral mass took place yesterday at Newry Cathedral, where a large crowd gathered to pay their last respects. In attendance were SDLP figures such as MLAs Justin McNulty and Sinead Bradley, Councillors Gillian Fitzpatrick, Michael Carr, and Michael Savage as well as Down GAA legend Sean O'Neill.

Former Newry and Mourne Chief Executives, Tom McCall and Kevin O'Neill also attended.

Mr McElroy joined the SDLP back in 1980, and was elected as a member of Newry and Mourne District Council the following year. He was elected Mayor of the council in 1995/96.

Mr Stokes succeeded to Mr McElroy's seat on the council, and the Newry City councillor described his former colleague as a "great Newry man".

"Back in 2003, Pat approached me - he said that he wasn't going to be contesting the next election, which was in 2005," said Mr Stokes.

"And he asked me would I consider running in his place.

"Pat was very much a working class Newry man, from an old Newry family. Anybody that you ask will say that Pat was very, very approachable and did a lot of work for the community.

"Particularly, obviously, when times were hard - he was there on the council throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when the troubles were raging.

"Times were tough, but Pat was very much there for the people. He loved the council, he loved working and the job of being a councillor. He loved helping people, and he was a great Newry man.

"It was always Newry first with Pat".

The late Mr McElroy, who is survived by his wife, son, brothers and sisters and wider family circle, lived a full and varied life.

He worked as a barman, seaman, bus driver, factory worker and was also, for a time a student priest.

He was also involved in the civil rights movement, and was interned for 15 months in Long Kesh.

His sporting interests included boxing, GAA and soccer. He fought out of the St John Bosco club, was a player with Newry Mitchels, and also managed a Bosco side which played in the Carnbane league.

"There was stuff from Pat's life that I wasn't aware of," said Mr Stokes.

"I would have visited him occasionally over the last number of years. He was a very active individual all his life, and was always getting involved in different things".

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