The death has occurred of Gerry Burns, the former Chief Executive of Fermanagh District Council.

Mr. Burns, who was 85, died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen on the morning of Tuesday, February 18.

Paying tribute to Mr. Burns, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhán Currie said: “It is with profound sadness, that the Council learned of the passing of Mr Gerry Burns. Mr. Burns had served as Chief Executive of the legacy Fermanagh District Council for almost 20 years, retiring in 1996."

She continued: "As Chief Executive, he oversaw many developments to Council services and facilities and is fondly remembered by all who had the pleasure of working with him, both staff and elected representatives."

"On behalf of the Members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his children, Gerry, Declan, Yvanna, Nuala and John and to the wider family circle," Councillor Currie added.

The Chief Executive of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Alison McCullagh, said: “Mr. Burns was very highly regarded by his colleagues in local government across Northern Ireland. His work as Chief Executive of the Council formed only part of his contribution to public life. Following his retirement from local government, he served as Northern Ireland Ombudsman and chaired the Independent Review of the 11 plus and Post Primary Education in NI 2000. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the 'Spirit of Enniskillen' Trust which aimed to empower young people from all over the North to work through local and international programmes to help understand and respect each other’s traditions.

On behalf of the staff of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I would like to offer my sincere sympathy to Mr. Burns' family and friends.”

Directed by Enda Love Funeral Directors, Mr. Burns' funeral will take place tomorrow (Thursday, February 20) at St. Michael's Church, Enniskillen with Requiem Mass at 11am. the funeral will be followed by the burial in Cross Cemetery, Enniskillen.

Full family tribute and community reaction in tomorrow's The Impartial Reporter.