28/09/2006

Funeral of Sinn Fein MLA takes place

The funeral of Sinn Fein assembly member Michael Ferguson has taken place today in west Belfast.

Mr Ferguson, 53, who was an MLA for west Belfast since 2003, died suddenly on Sunday evening.

Speaking at today's funeral at St Theresa's Church on the Glen Road, Parish Priest Father Martin Magill told the congregation how Mr Ferguson had emailed him days before his death telling him that he had turned his hospital bed into a workstation so he could tend to his constituents.

The Sinn Fein education spokesman had been undergoing chemotherapy for testicular cancer, which he was diagnosed with only two months ago.

The MLA's death came as an interview in which he spoke to a local newspaper about his illness was published on Monday morning.

Among the mourners were a number of Sinn Fein colleagues, along with representatives from the SDLP, the UUP, the Alliance Party, and the Northern Ireland Assembly's Speaker, Eileen Bell.

Michael Ferguson, who is survived by his wife and four children, was buried after requiem mass at Milltown cemetery in the west of the city.

(EF/KMcA)

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