ALL the main parties sitting on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have paid tribute to the late Captain Sir Tom Moore on his passing – with the exception of Sinn Fein.

Alongside this, one councillor was cut off in the course of commendations, having drawn reference to the NHS struggling under Government cuts.

With the news of Sir Moore's passing breaking shortly before a Council meeting began, Ulster Unionist Councillor Victor Warrington said: “Obviously we are all aware that Captain Sir Tom Moore has sadly passed away.

"The man was a great inspiration at the start of this pandemic, with his efforts of doing the [fundraising garden] walk raising millions for the NHS.

"He had a great life of 100 years, and would have had some great stories to tell. On behalf of my party, I want to express our sincere sympathies.”

This was followed by Councillor Errol Thompson, of the Democratic Unionist Party, who said: “It was very sad to learn of the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore. He was a great inspiration.

"For a man of 99, then 100 years of age, to walk constantly for the NHS, and the amount of money he raised right across the UK, was unbelievable.

"Our party wishes to be associated with the remarks of sympathy to his family.”

Independent Councillor Emmet McAleer also expressed his condolences, adding: “The money that Captain Sir Tom raised during his activities was absolutely inspiring.”

However, when saying NHS funding cuts are “a complete indictment of the Conservative government”, the Chair, Councillor Diana Armstrong cut in, refusing to allow him to continue.

She said: “I am insisting on respect in these messages, so I am ruling that out of order.”

Councillor Josephine Deehan, Independent told members she was: “greatly saddened” on learning of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

“I watched television images of him doing his rounds and doing everything within his power to raise funding for the NHS, an institution which he valued so much.

"He was willing to put in that supreme effort. I think’s it’s truly extraordinary.

"A great inspiration, especially to those of us who spend so may hours sitting behind a desk – there he was, getting out, doing his bit.

"He was truly inspirational, and we are all greatly saddened at his passing.”

Next to speak was Independent Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh, who also referred to Captain Sir Tom Moore’s “inspirational efforts”.

He said: “Sadly, it takes people like that, at his age, to raise funds in this way. This was genuinely done in an inspirational manner.

"This is a man who faced down the threat of Fascism, and he knew the value of the NHS which was created on the back of that victory [against Fascism]. We can’t let go of our NHS.”

Concluding, the SDLP’s Councillor Paul Blake told members Captain Sir Tom Moore “became a very inspirational figure during a very difficult time when we were overcoming the pandemic".

He continued: "To see his movements every day and the amount of money he raised was a real inspiration. We owe a great debt of gratitude.”