A former DUP mayor has died after a long hospital stay due to the coronavirus, with aides hailing him as one of the “really good people in local politics”.
Father-of-two Paul Hamill, 46, was a popular member of Antrim and Newtownabe Borough Council, on which he served for seven years and was a councilor when he died.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson paid tribute to the “hard working and dedicated representative of the people of the Macedon region”, saying his “loss will be deeply felt”.
He said: “Having served as mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Paul was known and respected throughout the community.
“We have lost a dear friend and colleague in the DUP, but my thoughts are with Paul’s wife, Ruth, their children and the wider family circle. They will be in our prayers as Ruth mourns the loss of her husband and the girls at the loss of their father.” Trying to understand.”
In a statement released Tuesday night, Billy Webb, the current mayor of Antrim and Newtownabe, confirmed “with great sadness” that Hamill “sadly lost his battle with COVID”.
It was not immediately clear when and how the councilor contracted the virus, although reports suggest he was ill and had been in hospital “for some time”.
A review of Hamill’s social media presence revealed that he was suspicious of COVID-19, as well as the preventive measures and vaccines used to prevent its spread.
Various posts he retweeted – some as recently as 7 and 16 August – discuss the much-discussed, bogus claim “that COVID vaccines are not safe or effective” as well as the idea that the whole coronavirus pandemic was some kind of “Global Promotion Campaign”.
News of his death shocked and saddened Irish officials of the political divide, some of whom expressed condolences online.
Karen Smith of the Local Government Association tweeted: “Shocked and saddened by the news that Paul Hamill has died as a result of COVID 19. Paul was an enthusiastic and dedicated public servant with a young family. Everyone in the Nilaga remembers him. will do.”
Alliance Councilor Tom Campbell said of his colleague at Antrim and Newtownbay Council: “Very sad news that our council colleague Paul Hamill has died. One of the really good people in local politics, much missed him Will go.”
Meanwhile, the leader of the Ulster Unionist group in council, Mark Cosgrove, also paid tribute to the DUP man.
“On behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party, I extend my deepest condolences to Paul’s wife, Ruth, their children and extended family. I also extend my condolences to Paul’s associates.”
“This is devastating news for all of them and it is hard to accept. Paul will be saddened by his family and many friends.”
The news came two weeks later when some of Hamill’s friends prayed for the councilor who was at Antrim Hospital. Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister offered his condolences to the family at the time.
In 2018, when he was mayor, Hamill became famous for his address in Irish at an event for language groups and schoolchildren at The Mill in Newtownabe.
Some 200 people saw that he was “the mayor for all the people of the city”. An Irish-speaking nationalist friend had initially helped him learn a few sentences, and he even asked a teacher at an Irish-medium school for help with his pronunciation. Belfast Telegraph who spoke to him at that time.
“As mayor I think it is right for me to say a few words in Irish at the beginning so that everyone can be welcomed. I think it will be a good night and I am very much looking forward to it,” he told the newspaper .
Mr Webb, the current mayor, concluded his statement by saying that he would open a virtual book of condolence on Wednesday, and would like to leave a message to “everyone who knew Paul to pay tribute to his memory and many achievements.” invited to”.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /