Foster pays trib­ute to ‘a gi­ant in Ir­ish na­tion­al­ism’

Irish Independent - - News | John Hume: 1937-2020 - Claire McNeilly

NORTH­ERN Ire­land First Min­is­ter Ar­lene Foster has de­scribed for­mer SDLP leader John Hume as “a gi­ant in Ir­ish na­tion­al­ism”.

Of­fer­ing her con­do­lences to his widow Pat and the wider Hume fam­ily, Ms Foster said: “John left his unique mark in the House of Com­mons, Brus­sels and Wash­ing­ton.”

The DUP leader added: “In our dark­est days, he recog­nised that vi­o­lence was the wrong path and worked stead­fastly to pro­mote demo­cratic pol­i­tics.”

DUP MP Gre­gory Camp­bell said Mr Hume would be “sadly missed”.

“I got to know him through coun­cil events in the early 1980s as well as when we both were mem­bers of the As­sem­bly and Par­lia­ment later.

“His at­ti­tude to vi­o­lence was what dis­tin­guished him from oth­ers, and even though we had very deep dif­fer­ences, it will be for an­other time to an­a­lyse his view both at the start of the Trou­bles and at the time im­me­di­ately be­fore the cease­fires an­nounced by the IRA, and then shortly af­ter by loy­al­ist paramil­i­taries.”

Ul­ster Union­ist leader Steve Aiken said Mr Hume’s “huge con­tri­bu­tion to po­lit­i­cal life in North­ern Ire­land is unar­guable, even by those who would have re­garded them­selves as po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents”.

Mr Aiken said Mr Hume was re­spected world­wide. “On be­half of the Ul­ster Union­ist

Party, I would like to ex­tend my deep­est con­do­lences to his wife Pat, his fam­ily and to all his friends and col­leagues.”

For­mer UUP leader Reg Em­pey said: “John Hume was the tow­er­ing fig­ure of Ir­ish na­tion­al­ism in the sec­ond half of the 20th cen­tury.”

Mean­while, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris Johnson said Mr Hume was “quite sim­ply a po­lit­i­cal gi­ant”. “With­out John Hume there would have been no Belfast or Good Fri­day Agree­ment,” he added.

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