The General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, David Begg, has expressed 'deep sadness' at the death of Nelson Mandela and extended condolences to his family and friends and to the South African trade union movement. Begg said: “On behalf of the Irish trade union movement, I want to express our great sadness at the passing of Mr Mandela who, in death as in life, remains an icon for all who battle injustice and struggle for freedom. “I want to extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the members of COSATU- the Congress of South African Trade Unions – who played a pivotal role in the long fight to end Apartheid. “That long struggle highlighted the importance of the core trade union value of solidarity, as exemplified by the Dunnes workers. “Their brave actions gave practical expression to the belief that an injury to one is the concern of all – even if the injured are thousands of miles away on a different continent,” Begg said. “In doing so they helped form an enduring bond between the people of Ireland and the people of South Africa. “Nelson Mandela made an immeasurable contribution to his country, his continent and the ongoing struggle for justice and dignity for all.” “It falls to the rest of us – especially within the international trade union movement – to remain true to that vision and to help make it a reality," Begg said.