PUP leader David Ervine dies
PUP leader David Ervine dies

Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine has died this afternoon having suffered two heart attacks and a stroke over the weekend.

The 53-year-old East Belfast Assembly member was being treated in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after his sudden illness.

Mr Ervine was one of the key figures to encourage a unionist paramilitary ceasefire in 1994 and backed a ‘Yes’ vote in the poll on the Good Friday Agreement.

Since 2002, the former paramilitary has been the leader of the small Progressive Unionist Party, which represents the Ulster Volunteer Force. He is the party’s sole representative in the Belfast Assembly.

Last year, the Ulster Unionists controversially admitted him into their Assembly Group, even though he is not a party member.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams extended his condolences to the Ervine family.

“David Ervine played a key role within loyalism throughout the development of the peace process,” he said.

“He made a valuable and important contribution to moving our society away from conflict.

“I was shocked yesterday evening when I heard the news that David Ervine had been taken ill.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin I would wish to extend my condolences to his family, friends and party colleagues at this difficult time.”

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