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Tributes paid to former Sinn Fein MLA Francie Brolly who has died suddenly

Family of retired Dungiven teacher "devastated"

Tributes paid to former Sinn MLA Francie Brolly who has died suddenly

Francie Brolly pictured with his wife, Anne.

Tributes are being paid to one of the North West's best known politicians, Francie Brolly, who has died suddenly.

Mr Brolly, from Dungiven, was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 as a Sinn Féin member for the East Derry constituency. He resigned in 2010.

His wife, Anne, was the first Sinn Féin Mayor and the first female Mayor of Limavady between 2003 and 2004, the council to which she was elected in 2001.

In February 2018, Mr Brolly left the Sinn Fein over its support for abortion 

The following month, he and his wife joined Aontú, the new anti-abortion republican party founded by former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín.

Aontú deputy leader, Derry City Councillor Anne McCloskey, said she was was "heartbroken" at news of Mr Brolly's death.

Deputy First Minister and Sinn Fein vice-president, Michelle O'Neill, said Mr Brolly was a “significant figure” in the political life of east Derry for many years and would be missed by many.

She added: “He was a tireless campaigner for civil rights and human rights and a committed Irish Republican.

“As a teacher, activist, campaigner and elected representative, he helped shape the community in his native Dungiven and further afield.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood revealed he had spoken to Mr Brolly the night before his death.

He said: “Our thoughts are with Anne and all the Brolly family."  

Mr Brolly, a retired teacher, is survived by his wife, Anne, and children, former Derry GAA star and TV pundit Joe, Proinnsías, Conal, Áine and Nollaig.

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