The Currie family is heartbroken to announce the death of Austin Currie.
“After a long and eventful life, he died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Derrymullen, Co Kildare. He had just celebrated his 82nd birthday.
“Austin was married to Annita for 53 years. They were a formidable team whose love for each other and their family saw them through some of the worst times in Northern Ireland’s recent history. He is survived by his children Estelle, Caitriona, Dualta, Austin and Emer, their partners and 13 grandchildren.
“Austin, who was born in Co Tyrone, was the eldest of eleven children. His decision to squat a council house in Caledon in June 1968 is widely seen as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
“One of the founding members of the SDLP along with John Hume and Gerry Fitt, Austin played a key role in the politics of that era.
“In 1989, he won a seat in Dublin West for Fine Gael and pursued a successful career as TD and minister until retirement in 2002.
“Our Daddy was wise, brave and loving and we thank him for the values that he lived by and instilled in us. He was our guiding star who put the principles of peace, social justice and equality first.
“From Edendork in county Tyrone to the bog of Allen, Daddy was most at home with his beloved Annita and his family, surrounded by newspapers and grandchildren. We will miss him deeply.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs