Tribute following death of DUP’s John Finlay

North Antrim DUP Alderman John Finlay has passed away after fighting cancer for some time.

In a statement, Ian Paisley MP said: “This morning my dear friend and colleague Cllr John Finlay passed away.

“I and all his friends are heartbroken and sad to lose such a dedicated colleague and friend.

“John was an active public servant. He loved his role as a councillor. He took his job seriously and was an example to his colleagues. He was a faithful and dependable friend. John was amongst my closest friends. He held the post of chairman of the North Antrim association for almost 20 years. He was totally dependable, utterly loyal and always had your back.

John Finlay with his wife Linda, whom he called 'the boss'

“He was a dedicated Christian. Johns Christian testimony was well known. He worshiped publicly and has deep Christian values. He was a great prayer worrier and supported many missionaries and church causes privately. He will be missed by them.

“I extend my thoughts and prayers to Linda and his daughters who know that John is with his Lord and saviour. They have lost a wonderful father and a loyal husband. John loved nothing more than being with his girls, enjoying their company and a good cup of coffee. Our hearts are broken for his family and their loss.”

Meanwhile the leader of the DUP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has also paid tribute to Ald Finlay: “I am deeply saddened by John’s passing and I want to pass my sincere sympathies to Linda and their two daughters. John was a passionate unionist, but was ultimately guided by his deep faith and I hope the certainty of that faith will be of comfort to them in these difficult days.

“Even through his illness he continued to be at the heart of the community and to carry out his council duties. Just a few weeks ago John once again took his place in front of Dunloy Orange Lodge and led them as Worshipful Master through the streets of Bushmills. As Chairman of our North Antrim Association, he was both a source of encouragement and support during the recent Assembly election. John will be greatly missed by everyone in the Party, and particularly by all those who worked most closely with him.”

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More tributes paid to Alderman John Finlay

Party Chairman Lord Morrow also added his tribute, saying: “John has been a faithful party member over many decades now. He first stood for election to the former Down District Council as far back as 1989 and was elected to represent Newcastle in 1993. He was later elected to the Bann Valley area of Ballymoney Borough Council in 2005 and has been a dedicated servant to the people of that area since then.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Linda, their daughters and the wider family circle at this time.”

Mr Finlay’s party colleague on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Alan McLean said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of John’s death. Although he has been ill for some time, John carried himself with great dignity and grace until the end. My immediate thoughts and prayers are with his wife Linda and his daughters, Naomi and Rebekah, who will feel the heavy weight of grief and mourning at this time.

“John Finlay was a staunch unionist who was passionate about his party, the DUP, and the people of Ballymoney who he represented for over two decades. He was synonymous with the DUP in Ballymoney and was consistently rewarded by the people for his first-rate work ethic. As a proud member of Dunloy LOL 496, John never shied away from expressing his Protestant faith and regularly preached the good news of the Gospel at services and events across Northern Ireland. Yet despite his strongly held religious beliefs, John was committed to working for all those he represented regardless of their background.

“As a DUP family, we will miss his presence greatly but we take comfort in the knowledge that John is now rejoicing in Heaven with the Saviour he loved so much. Ballymoney has lost a political heavyweight. I pray that his family will know God’s love and comfort in the difficult weeks and months ahead.”