The death has occurred of Oliver Napier, a founder member of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He was 75.

Mr Napier, who died overnight in Belfast, was a founder member and first leader of Northern Ireland's Alliance Party.

Born in Belfast in July 1935, he was educated at Saint Malachy's College and Queen's University and after he qualified as a solicitor he began working in his father's practice.

After his pivotal role in forming the Alliance Party, he led it from 1972 to 1984.

He wanted to attract cross-community support and constantly sought to represent middle ground politics during some of the most challenging years of the Troubles.

He was a minister in the Stormont administration that was set up as a result of the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973.

He is survived by his wife and nine children.

Among those who paid tribute to him today were David Ford, the current Alliance party leader and Northern Ireland's Justice Minister and John Cushnahan, who succeeded Oliver Napier as Alliance Party leader from 1984-87.