Tributes have been paid to ‘proud Newry man’ John McArdle who has died.
Mr McArdle was a former SDLP councillor, serving as Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council in 2012, and a former nurse at Daisy Hill Hospital.
He was a staunch supporter of the Save Daisy Hill Hospital campaign and a “tireless” worker for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
His SDLP colleague, Newry & Armagh MLA Justin McNulty, described Mr McArdle as a “vivacious, warm and trusted man whose integrity and passion for people shone through”.
He said: “John dedicated his whole life to the service of others, both as a nurse and an SDLP councillor. He was a proud Newry man, and a devoted family man, something that was abundantly clear to all who knew him.
“John was a tireless advocate for and defender of Daisy Hill Hospital. He toiled relentlessly for the people he served, and he did so without complaint. John was straight, passionate, and principled. He was a fierce defender of the marginalised and the vulnerable, and anyone who had the privilege of knowing John thought the world of him.
“All those who knew John will mourn his loss deeply, and our community will be worse off without him.”
Paying tribute on Facebook, political commentator and columnist, Tom Kelly, said he had known Mr McArdle all his life.
“He would remind me that we both originally came from the High Street area, when I often claimed roots in Ballybot,” he said.
“He was a tireless campaigner for civil rights. Hail, rain or snow he walked the streets of Newry as part of the Civil Rights movement and the campaign for more employment in the town. He was Newry through and through.
“Even in retirement and with ill health he continued to lend his distinctive voice to Save Daisy Hill Hospital.
“Daisy Hill was more than a place of employment to John. He was passionate about it as he was with the SDLP both as a member and an elected representative. He was key to many of the successful SDLP campaigns in Newry and Armagh. He wasn’t afraid to be critical when required.”
He described Mr McArdle as “a man of great faith” whose “devotion to the Dominican community was unrivalled”.
“It was a privilege to serve with him as a volunteer in Newry Credit Union for many years. John loved craic and when he took his turn in the market stall there was laughs in abundance. With his brothers in tow (Eamon and the late Jim) the trio could be a comedy act.
“They used to say that Bennett’s Newsagents only stocked two copies of the Financial Times – one for the legendary Newry retailer, the late Andrew Boyd, and the other was for John McArdle. John loved to dabble in shares almost as much as he dabbled in politics. A strong and vocal opponent of violence – small in stature – he stood up when it counted.”
Mr McArdle is survived by his wife Patricia, sons Cathal and Ciaran, brother Eamon, nephews and nieces and wider family circle.
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