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Tributes to a charming but tough negotiator

Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary: "Education has lost one of its finest advocates. Not only did Eamonn strengthen his own union, he strengthened the whole of education. Every one of us involved in education is in his debt. We will all miss him greatly.

"I valued Eamonn's personal leadership, wise counsel and strong advice. I also valued his friendship. His honesty and integrity shone through. I feel a great loss, as do my colleagues in the department. He was much loved.

"His contribution to education was immense. He understood that the future of teacher trade unionism lies in partnership and he worked tirelessly to achieve that. He brought a new dimension to social partnership.

"Eamonn was central to securing the historic workforce agreement. His courage in tackling this was typical, as was his determination to see it through.

"The greatest tribute we can pay Eamonn is to fulfil his vision of a teaching profession given the respect it has earned. There are few people who have done more to make that happen."

Chris Keates, NASUWT acting general secretary: "He was someone with absolute integrity. He was instrumental in securing the most significant improvements in pay and conditions of service that teachers have received for almost 20 years."

David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers' general secretary: "He promised a lot and it has been snatched away. He was a charming man - a tough negotiator but a delightful man."

Nigel de Gruchy, former NASUWT general secretary: "He was a massive talent and I was truly indebted to him. I couldn't imagine having a better deputy."

John Dunford, Secondary Heads Association general secretary: "Although he only held office for a short time he made a crucial difference, the agenda is quite different for those who follow."

Mary Bousted, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, general secretary: "I was always very impressed by the way he spoke so passionately and powerfully with such conviction. (Teachers) have lost a highly dedicated advocate."

Jean Gemmell, Professional Association of Teachers general secretary:

"Eamonn really was a champion of the profession. He was a hard negotiator, but also a kind and courteous man."

Doug McAvoy, National Union of Teachers' general secretary: "I had a tremendous admiration for Eamonn and enjoyed many occasions in his company.

We have lost a strong, dedicated and courageous advocate."

Brendan Barber, Trades Union Congress general secretary: "He had a vision that was practical and principled and I think he demonstrated some real courage in the way he stamped his authority on the union."

Margaret Morrissey, from the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations: "Eamonn was always prepared to listen to the views of parents and considered them to be important partners in children's learning."

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