City Hall opens book of condolence following death of John Hume

City Hall opens book of condolence following death of John Hume

As leader of the moderate Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Hume was an important advocate of non-violence as fighting erupted between Irish nationalists who wanted a united Ireland and pro-British forces, including the British Army, who wanted to maintain the region's British status.

"John was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and a brother".

"It is no exaggeration to say that each and every one of us now lives in the Ireland Hume imagined - an island at peace and free to decide its own destiny", he said.

"We are grateful for your condolences and support, and we appreciate that you will respect the family's right to privacy at this time of great loss", the family said in a statement.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who helped craft the 1998 peace deal, praised Hume as a "political titan" and "a visionary who refused to believe the future had to be the same as the past".

"He saw the power of political leadership to bring a divided people together around a common objective, without which the Good Friday Agreement would never have come to pass".

A founding member of the SDLP in 1970, he was leader from 1979 to 2001.

"John Hume committed his life to the principles of nonviolence, and through his faith, statesmanship, and perseverance, he helped bring Northern Ireland through the Troubles to a better tomorrow".

"During the darkest days of Northern Ireland's recent past, he won the friendship and respect of countless Americans".

That spawned a peace process and an IRA truce in 1994 and talks that produced the watershed Good Friday accord.

In a statement, the current US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also reflected the strength of the connection Mr Hume shared with politicians in the US.

Hume sought the notion of extending self-government to Northern Ireland with power divided among the groups forming it.

Then in 1998, his efforts of over 30 years paved the way for the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

He was a key figure in the civil rights campaigns of the late 1960s and also played a leading role in the formation of the credit union movement.

"Mr Hume's influence extended far beyond the shores where he lived", he said.

"While the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was the product of many people's work, can anyone really claim that it would have happened without John Hume?".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed a "political giant", while Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said: "He was one of the towering figures of Irish public life of the last century". We also owe it to him to ensure that the peace he pursued so resolutely is maintained and strengthened.

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