Foster pays tribute to ‘a giant in Irish nationalism’
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.