|Bobby Lavery with Pádraic Mac Coitir|
For years I had heard of and had seen him at marches and rallies.
He was a man I'd always wanted to meet but it wasn't until I got out of gaol in 1996 that I eventually did meet him. I'd have the odd yarn with but would never claim to have known him well but I liked him.
Bobby went through a rough time when he became a SF Councillor for North Belfast. Unionist murder gangs targeted his home a number of times and during one of those attacks his son, Seán, was killed.
His brother Martin was also killed by one of those gangs. I can just imagine the impact those killings had on him and the rest of his family.
One of the last times I spoke with him was about four years ago in The Hercules Bar and although he knew I wasn't a supporter of SF he was very friendly. We spoke briefly about politics and we left on good terms.
A good man who'll be a loss to his clann and his community.
➤ Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican prisoner and current political activist.