Founder member of the Alliance Party dies from Covid-19

Tributes paid to David Cook who died aged 76 at Craigavon hospital on Saturday

David Cook, a founder member of the Alliance Party, cutting turf in Co Donegal.

David Cook, a founder member of the Alliance Party, cutting turf in Co Donegal.

 

Former deputy leader of the Alliance Party and lord mayor of Belfast David Cook has died from Covid-19 at the age of 76.

In a statement, Mr Cook’s family said he died peacefully just after 6pm on Saturday at Craigavon hospital.

“His family would like to express their gratitude for the kindness he received in local hospitals after he suffered a stroke two years ago and in recent weeks as he faced Covid,” said the family.

Mr Cook was a founder member of the Alliance Party in 1970, eventually becoming deputy leader in 1980 and holding that role until 1984.

He was elected to Belfast City Council in 1973 for South Belfast and became the first non-unionist lord mayor in the history of the city in 1978, after winning a vote by 26-25.

Former leader of the Alliance Party John Cushnahan said he was “saddened to hear of the untimely death” of Mr Cook.

“David Cook was a very skilled and courageous politician,” he said. “It was an honour and a privilege to serve under him when he was leader of the Alliance Group on Belfast City Council in the 1970s and also as deputy leader of the Alliance Party in the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 1980s.

“He was a founding member of the Alliance Party and many of the initial important meetings of the Alliance Party took place at his home.

“He was undoubtedly one of the best lord mayors ever to hold the office. During all my time in political office in Northern Ireland he was a loyal and faithful friend who provided great and unstinting support during very difficult and challenging times.”

Mr Cook is survived by his wife Fionnuala; children Barbary, John, Patrick, Julius and Dominic; granddaughters Romy and Imogen; and sisters Alison and Nora.