Westlands Residential home campaigner dies

Clifford Devlin.INMM1813-370SR
Clifford Devlin.INMM1813-370SR

A leading campaigner in the fight to save Westlands Residential home in Cookstown from closure, has died.

Clifford Devlin, who was in his early 90s, passed away at Antrim Area Hospital yesterday.

Local Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson described Mr Devlin as a character who was well known in the Cookstown area.

“He would have been out and about in the town stopping and speaking to people,” he said. “He was well known to townspeople, one of Cookstown’s last characters.”

Mr Devlin had been a resident in Westlands care home and three years ago was at the forefront of a campaign to save it and nine other care homes from closure following cuts announced by the Health and Social Care Board.

Mr Devlin attended and challenged the health care board at public meetings, campaigned at Stormont and gave TV interviews on his joy at the reprieve for many homes.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, in a visit to Belfast to support those campaigning to keep the homes open, met and paid tribute to Mr Devlin. “I am immensely proud of the fight which members and residents like Clifford have put up in Northern Ireland,” he said.

After a lengthy campaign, the former Health Minister Edwin Poots reversed the decision.

He was the son of the late William and Mable Devlin. His funeral service is expected to be held in R. Steenson & Son Funeral Home on Friday followed by interment in Cookstown Cemetery.