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
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 Fein President Gerry Adams extended his condolences to the Ervine
"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 Fein I would wish to extend my condolences to
family, friends and party colleagues at this difficult time."