Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament has paid tribute to former Fine Gael TD, Seymour Crawford, who has died.

“He has made an enormous contribution to Irish public life,” she said today.

“Coming from an agricultural background and having served as chairman of the livestock committee of the IFA, he had a very deep knowledge of the importance of farming to rural Ireland.

Although he was a TD for Cavan/Monaghan, many in Donegal agricultural circles knew him and worked with him over the years.

Ms. McGuinness continued: “And being a border county man and of the Presbyterian faith he had particular insights and understanding that he used to very great effect at a crucial time during the peace process.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr. Crawford's "unique perspective" as a Protestant in Irish politics was "crucial" during the Northern Ireland peace process.

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