I was truly saddened yesterday to hear the news of the death of Dr Ian Adamson OBE. Ian was 74. Former Lord Mayor of Belfast; UUP representative on Belfast City Council from 1989 to 2011; MLA for East Belfast from 1998 to 2003; Deputy Lord Mayor in 1994/95 and Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/1997: Ian’s record of service in Northern Ireland is well respected there, though Ian will be known to few of us from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Ian’s remarkable life was not limited to politics – far from it. A highly respected author and academic, Dr Adamson was a paediatrician and served as the personal physician to former DUP leader and First Minister Ian Paisley until his death. Ian was linguist of renown who founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992. He spoke in both Ulster Gaelic and Ulster Scots during his time in the Northern Ireland Assembly and had made public addresses in a plethora of languages during his life including Dutch and Sioux.
Along with my Democrats & Veterans Party colleagues Gavin Felton and Stephen Crosby, I had the pleasure of being welcomed to Northern Ireland by Ian and his associate Helen Brooker from Pretani Associates, when we visited Belfast in early 2018. We met a kind, warm and wise man – sharp of mind and witty of word – a listener. His passion for education, truth and for the culture and history of Ireland and the British Isles was a wonder and an inspiration.
I met Ian on two further occasions last year, the last time in September when we enjoyed a meal in Carrickfergus with Helen and my son, who as a recent graduate in history had an delightful educational evening to remember.
Dr Ian Adamson wrote many books through which he will endure. I have just received through the post “The Identity of Ulster” and I was looking forward to again discussing with Ian the contents of one of his books, a privilege he had been kind enough to afford me. I will not be able to do so. But my loss is nothing to that of Ian’s wife, family, friends and associates to whom I send my condolences. They have lost a remarkable and wonderful man.
© James Dalton 10th January 2019