It is with deep sadness that I write to mark the death of a colleague; Cllr. Elizabeth Maginnis who dies in the early hours of this morning following a brain hemorrhage.
Elizabeth was deeply committed to her family and to the community that she served for over 20 years. She will be missed by many.
Elizabeth and I did not always see eye to eye but we never fell out nor were any of our disagreements ever personal. She stood against me for the leadership of the Labour Group in 2006 and we crossed swords on other issues but never with rancour. Robust, firm and assertive, but never cross or aggressive, would describe some of our conversations which I always enjoyed. When I won the leadership, she put her shoulder to the wheel and was a committed member of our campaign team. Following the election she was the one who nominated me for the leadership again and continued in her support for me for which I am very grateful.
Elizabeth was clear in what she wanted. She was passionate about social justice and the rights of the excluded and was willing to take risks and lead where others would have shied away. Her story will be told in other places better than I can, but I tell one story of my own experience. Elizabeth was not a Christian in the orthodox sense but she did carry a deep sense of the spiritual. She told me once that where she to find faith it would be as a Roman Catholic because she found a great deal of meaningfulness is their sense and practice of liturgy. She said words to the effect of "a good sermon is a nice intellectual experience but their liturgy captures the mysterious much more effectively". My thoughts and prayers are with her family for whom finding a way out from their pain of this moment will be a mystery and for whom, right now, words will bring little solace.
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