Obituaries in the News
.c The Associated Press
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - Paddy Devlin, a committed socialist who helped found Northern Ireland's largest Roman Catholic party, died Sunday after a lenghty hospitalization. He was 74.
A tireless campaigner against sectarianism and violence, Devlin participated in Northern Ireland's first and only experiment in a joint Protestant-Catholic government. As minister for health and human services, he was the second highest ranking Catholic in that 1974 administration.
That government soon collapsed, and the British government resumed ``direct rule'' from London, an arrangement that continues today.
As an idealistic member of the IRA, he served a three-year prison sentence starting in 1942 for membership in the group. He renounced violence in prison, and later became a fierce critic of the IRA campaign to destabilize Northern Ireland.
In 1970, Devlin co-founded the moderate Social Democratic and Labor Party, which since has always won the most votes from the province's Catholic minority, but resigned in 1977 in protest that the party appealed too narrowly to Catholic interests at the expense of working-class Protestants.
In 1981, Devlin was forced to abandon his home in his native Catholic west Belfast after facing intimidation from IRA supporters, who were angered by his criticism of the IRA prison hunger strike at the time.
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