Northern Ireland

Desmond Boal: Leading Northern Ireland barrister and former Unionist MP dies

Desmond Boal
Image caption Desmond Boal was a founder member of the Democratic Unionist Party

Desmond Boal, a well-known Northern Ireland barrister and former Unionist MP at Stormont has died.

Mr Boal was a Unionist MP for the Shankill constituency in Belfast between 1960 and 1971.

He left to establish the Democratic Unionist Party with Ian Paisley and was the party's first chairman.

Following a series of disagreements with Paisley over the future direction of the DUP, he resigned from the party in 1974.

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader, Jim Allister, paid tribute to Mr Boal, describing him as a "unique talent in both politics and law".

"As MP for Shankill in the old Stormont parliament he fought tirelessly for his constituents and was both a vocal opponent of republicanism and an articulate champion of the Union," he said.

He said that as a barrister, Mr Boal was "brilliant in cross examination and unrivalled in the skills of advocacy".

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said Mr Boal would be remembered as a "man of intellect and commitment".

He added that in politics or law, he "was a hard man to miss".