Alliance Upper Bann MLA Eóin Tennyson has paid tribute to Her Late Majesty the Queen. He was speaking after MLAs gathered at Stormont to express condolences.
“In the first instance, my thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time. They are mourning a much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” said Mr Tennyson.
“We, of course, acknowledge that there are a range of views within our community on the institutions of Monarchy. Yet, it is beyond doubt that Queen Elizabeth II was a source of huge continuity and comfort for so many in turbulent times, loved by millions across the UK and further afield.
“She is one of the figures who came to define came to define the 20th Century, as well as a large part of the 21st due not only to her longevity but her commitment and selfless dedication to public service. The majority of us have only ever known her in the role of sovereign and it will be incredibly strange to not see her there carrying out her duties.
“Her Late Majesty’s state visit to Ireland in 2011 represented a significant contribution to strengthening relationships on and between these islands. In 2012, despite her own experience of personal loss as a result of our complex and contested history, she met former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with an outstretched hand of friendship.
“That brave gesture was an example of the Queen’s courage, generosity and graciousness that will be keenly missed by so many. Her contribution to peace and reconciliation here will be one of many lasting legacies, and one which we should all commit ourselves to building upon.”