Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the death of Lord Merlyn-Rees
I have learned with regret of the death today of Lord Merlyn-Rees and I want to extend my deepest sympathies to his family.
With his long and distinguished service on the Government and opposition front benches at Westminster, Merlyn-Rees will be best remembered on this island for his two and a half years as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
He held that post during some of the bleakest and most difficult days of the troubles. Indeed, the scale of the challenges he faced, and the extent of his attempts to address them, were vividly recalled with the release last week of papers relating to 1975.
Indeed, reflection on the events of that period is a timely reminder of the extent to which the political, social and economic landscape in Northern Ireland has been transformed, and of the need for this generation of political leaders to continue that process of transformation.
5th January 2006