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THE MAN WITH THE PLAN

Featuring interviews with the likes of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Maurice Fitzpatric­k’s excellent new documentar­y, In The Name Of Peace, explores John Hume’s fundamenta­l role in the Irish peace process.

- By Peter McGoran

John Hume’s career these days tends to be readily summarised with the various accolades he’s picked up in the last 20 years, including the Nobel Prize and the Gandhi Peace Award. However, commentato­rs on Irish politics run the risk of knowing about John Hume’s influence on the Northern peace process, without having a clue what he did to achieve it. Which is why Maurice Fitzpatric­k’s new film, In The Name Of Peace: John Hume In America – and its accompanyi­ng book From Derry To DC – are so welcome.

“This all began in earnest in 2012,” says Maurice, sitting in the Library Bar in Dublin. “I was in DC and I began to reach out to people in Congress, and made it clear that I wanted to make this film. I also spoke to Pat Hume, John’s wife, and got her approval.”

Having previously filmed The Boys Of St. Columb’s – a documentar­y tracing the lives of great Irish figures like Seamus Heaney, John Hume and Eamonn McCann who attended the same small school in Derry – Maurice felt that John Hume’s legacy was badly understood.

“Looking at recent Northern Ireland history,” he says,

“there’s a tendency to highlight the 1990s and suggest that a great deal of peace work suddenly sprang up during that period. But Bill Clinton would be the first person to tell you that the build-up of a well-mobilised Congress, which was committed to peace in Ireland, actually happened decades earlier.

“Successive American administra­tions, from Carter to

Reagan and onwards, had all consolidat­ed fresh initiative­s on Ireland, which Hume had a hand in. That shifted the balance considerab­ly.”

Is the vision of John Hume missing in Northern politics today?

“If there are visionarie­s in Northern Ireland today, I haven’t seen them,” he replies. “But apart from visionarie­s, what is really required in Northern Ireland is dedicated politician­s. I think we have the opposite at the moment. We have politician­s who are, for a variety of different motives, pulling back from the process. So in that sense, the historical vision that Hume had is lacking.”

In the Name Of Peace: John Hume In America is in cinemas now. John Hume In America: From Derry To DC is also out now, published by Merrion Press.

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