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DUP Leader Edwin Poots has paid tribute to former North Down MLA Gordon Dunne MBE who has passed away.

Mr Poots said, “When Gordon announced his decision to step down from the Assembly we knew the serious challenges he faced as he battled illness. However the news of his passing is a huge shock to us all. Gordon’s good humour and positive attitude were a shining example to us all and he will be sorely missed by everyone associated with the DUP. Gordon was more than a colleague, he was a friend.

My thoughts are with the Dunne family as they grieve at this time. I hope they can find some comfort in the many tributes that will be paid to someone who was always so willing to help others through his long career as a public representative. Gordon’s faith, his family and a passion for motorsport were important to him. His friendly disposition, honest character and hard-working nature made him a very special person. His Christian character shone through in everything he done. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gillian and to Andrew, Stephen and Amy.

While Gordon was someone who always served the public I would appeal for the family to be given privacy at this difficult time.”

Party Chairman Lord Morrow said, “Gordon was a committed unionist and dedicated public representative and his loss will be keenly felt by people from across Northern Ireland.

I counted Gordon as both a colleague and friend over many decades and my prayers are with the Dunne family at this time.

The tributes paid from across the political spectrum when Gordon stepped down from public life were testament to The esteem Gordon was held in by all those he worked with. As a party and a country we are much poorer for the loss of someone like Gordon Dunne.”