The Nobel Peace Prize winner and prominent Northern Ireland politician John Hume has died aged 83. He died in a Londonderry nursing home following a long period of illness. One of the highest-profile politicians in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, he helped create the climate that brought an end to the Troubles. He was one of the founding members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970 and went on to lead the party from 1979 until 2001. Mr. Hume played a major role in the peace talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The former SDLP leader was widely admired for his steadfast commitment to peaceful, democratic politics during three decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
Tributes have been paid across the board by political leaders past and present, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was in office when the peace deal was signed. Mr. Blair said:
“John Hume was a political titan; a visionary who refused to believe the future had to be the same as the past.”
“His contribution to peace in Northern Ireland was epic and he will rightly be remembered for it.
“He was insistent it was possible, tireless in pursuit of it and endlessly creative in seeking ways of making it happen.”
In the late 1980s, Mr Hume took considerable risks for peace by holding talks with the then leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams.
The Hume-Adams talks helped to lay the foundations for the 1994 IRA ceasefire and the later negotiations which resulted in the Good Friday Agreement. On Monday, Mr Hume was hailed as a “great hero and a true peacemaker” by current Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin.
“During the darkest days of paramilitary terrorism and sectarian strife, he kept hope alive. And with patience, resilience and unswerving commitment, he triumphed and delivered a victory for peace,” Mr Martin said.
John Hume was a major contributor to politics in Northern Ireland, particularly to the process that gave us an agreement that we are still working our way through. He will be remembered for that contribution for years to come.
Irish President Michael D Higgins said Mr Hume had “transformed and remodelled politics in Ireland” and hailed his “personal bravery and leadership”.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said Northern Ireland would not be where it is today “without his leadership and his courage”. He said:
“Few people deserved the Nobel Peace Prize more than John he dedicated his life to peace, and for that the people of Northern Ireland will never forget him”.
Mr. Hume had been suffering from dementia for many years. John Hume died in the early hours of Monday at Owen Mor nursing home in Derry. In a statement, his family said:
“John was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and a brother. “He was very much loved, and his loss will be deeply felt by all his extended family.”
See few of the tribute tweets below:
It is impossible to properly express the scale and significance of John Hume’s life. He was one of the towering figures of Irish public life of the last century. His vision and tenacity saved this country. We owe him and his wife Pat so much. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) August 3, 2020
Sincere condolences to Pat & the wider Hume family. A giant in Irish nationalism, John left his unique mark in the House of Commons, Brussels & Washington. In our darkest days he recognised that violence was the wrong path & worked steadfastly to promote democratic politics. pic.twitter.com/Ctkdfxa4Au
— Arlene Foster #We’llMeetAgain (@DUPleader) August 3, 2020
John Hume has died. Ireland, all of us, should bow our heads in respect & thanks. What an extraordinary man, peacemaker, politican, leader, civil rights campaigner, family man, Derryman, inspiration. May he rest peacefully & his legacy live on. Sincere sympathy with Pat & family. pic.twitter.com/XZlYg4zHap
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) August 3, 2020
‘I never thought in terms of being a leader. I thought very simply in terms of helping people’.
Nobel Laureate and former SDLP Leader John Hume passed away last night. We all live in the Ireland he imagined – at peace and free to decide our own destiny.
Thank you, John. pic.twitter.com/0yO5KWaTv7
— Social Democratic and Labour Party (@SDLPlive) August 3, 2020
Source: BBC News
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