Republicans everywhere have expressed their shock and sadness at the death of legendary Belfast republican, Bobby Storey, at the age of 64.
It is understood he went into hospital for a lung transplant on Thursday night and passed away this morning.
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald expressed her “deep sadness” at the news. Sinn Féin’s leader in the Six Counties, Michelle O’Neill described him as “an enduring tower of strength” who would be “deeply missed by us all”.
A republican activist and strategist since his teenage years, Mr Storey played a leading role in the development of Sinn Féin, serving as the chair of the party in Belfast and later in the Six Counties.
He was interned without trial at just seventeen years of age and was in the Long Kesh internment camp when it was burned down. He became a participant in the 1983 escape of political prisoners, and his role featured in the 2017 film ‘Maze’ dramatising the escape.
“Bobby was a lifelong and very deeply committed Irish Republican whose passing will be received with great sadness by republicans throughout Ireland,” Ms McDonald said.
“Bobby was involved in republican activism for over forty years and suffered great hardship for his selfless dedication to his republican ideals.”
A target of harassment by the British Army and RUC from a young age, Mr Storey spent over 20 years in prison, much of it on remand. He was repeatedly arrested, brutalised and assaulted by the British military, a treatment which continued while he was behind bars.
“Bobby was extremely committed to the pursuit of a United Ireland with equality and social justice for all. He will be greatly missed,” Ms McDonald added.
“Today we have lost a great Republican. His loss will be felt by all who had the privilege to call him their friend
“On behalf of Sinn Féin I wish to extend my condolences and deepest sympathies to Bobby’s much loved partner Teresa, their children and grandchildren, his brothers Seamus and Brian, sister Geraldine and their many friends and comrades across Ireland.
“Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.”