Mediator in 1994 Northern Ireland Ceasefire and Tanenbaum Peacemaker

Ten years ago this year, we honored Rev. Roy Magee as a Peacemaker in Action. 1999 was the second time that Tanenbaum issued this award, and Rev. Magee (with his co-honoree Fr. Alec Reid) helped to set the standard by which we would recognize local, religious peacemaking. Embodying the virtues and the strength of this work, Rev. Magee will live on as a model for those struggling along the path of peace.

Rev. Magee is known for changing the fortunes of Northern Ireland by persuading loyalist paramilitaries to declare the 1994 ceasefire, which ultimately made the 1998 Good Friday Agreement possible. But his work started years before. When violence broke out and crowds gathered at the very start of the Troubles, Rev. Magee volunteered to patrol the streets each night to encourage the people to stay off the streets and remain in their homes. In the years that followed, he continued to guide and encourage his community to end the killing.

Speaking of his dangerous work mediating for and between the loyalist paramilitaries, Rev. Magee said, “What I do is nothing more and nothing less than an extension of my pastoral work.” He explained, “My actions were established when I examined in detail the example of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels.”

Rev. Roy Magee died on January 31, 2009 at the age of 79. His legacy was honored far and wide, nowhere moreso than in the land to which he dedicated his life.

“Roy Magee was one of the Sherpas, like Fr Alex Reid in Clonard and Brendan Duddy in Derry, the unsung heroes of the process who spent their time under the radar providing lines of communication as well as powerful and sustained arguments that helped persuade often desperate people to embrace political action as an alternative to violence. … In all this he remained his own man, firm in his principles, true to his roots, but with the magnanimity to bridge the divide and secure the respect of others. He did not blow his own trumpet, but for those who know the true story, his place in history is secure.” (Independent)

Words from his Tanenbaum friends:

Dear Loved ones,

On behalf of the Interfaith Mediation Centre, Nigeria and our peace networks we wish to express our heartfelt condolences of the death of a colleague in peacebuilding and a fellow that will always want to see and ensure that people benefit the very existence of this life.

We grieve over this irretrievable loss and the memory of Rev. Magee will always be in our hearts, our prayer is that God Almighty will grant the family, friends the comfort to bear the pains and loss.
With sympathy from us all,

Pastor James & Imam Ashafa
Peacemakers in Action

“I have been keeping him in very compassionate memory and prayers. In Sarajevo, he was sick, but we had an impressive conversation echoing in my spirit. Let Him rest in Peace of the Lord.”

Friar Ivo Markovich
Peacemaker in Action

“The great pictures brought back fresh memories, a wonderful and accurate statement about him, and a privilege for all of us to have known him. May he truly rest in peace.”

Bill Lowrey
Peacemaker in Action

“One of my professors always says that when someone passes, they don’t really die but rather start living in a different way. The Rev. Magee will live on eternally in how we do our work, how we treat others, how we teach others, and through the memories of his bright humor, warmth, and *true* example of peacemaking on the path of God.”

Sheherazade Jafari
Former Assistant Director, Religion and Conflict Resolution

Tanenbaum is privileged to have known Rev. Roy Magee. We continue to remember in sympathy his daughter, son and grandchildren, and we remember Roy – courageous, wise and loving.