Northern Ireland: Peacemaker David Trimble dies at 77
By Vatican News staff reporter
David Trimble was one of the chief architects of the 1998 Belfast Agreement that heralded a new era of peace in Northern Ireland after thirty years of conflict.
The Unionist politician, who became Northern Irish first minister in the power-sharing government that emerged from the 1998 accord passed away at the age of 77 on Monday after a short illness.
Both Trimble and Irish nationalist John Hume jointly received the Nobel prize in 1998 for their roles in helping end decades of bloodshed known as “The Troubles.”
Trimble joined the mainstream Ulster Unionist Party in the late 1970s but came under criticism by some for joining the talks that would lead to The Good Friday Agreement.
A leader of courage, vision and principle
Paying tribute to Lord Trimble, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a statement, that he was a leader of courage, vision and principle.
"Time after time during the negotiations he made the hard choices over the politically expedient ones because he believed future generations deserved to grow up free from violence and hatred."
The Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin said: “Remembering David Trimble's wife and family in prayer. Whilst a strong representative of his party, he had courage to lead, and to persuade others to take historic steps forward for peace and reconciliation.
For this we owe him a sincere debt of gratitude.
"He was a giant of British and international politics," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter, praising a fierce determination to change politics for the better and for his championing of democracy over violence.
"His contribution was immense, unforgettable and frankly irreplaceable," said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who helped broker the peace agreement.
"We have lost today someone who will be mourned by friends and foes alike."
Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said Lord Trimble played "a crucial and courageous role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland".
In 2005, the politician resigned as Ulster Unionist Party leader and went on to enter Britain’s House of Lords where he sat as a Conservative Party peer.
In his later years, Trimble backed Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
He also opposed the resulting post-Brexit trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Offering his condolences, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said those that followed Trimble now have a shared responsibility to continue to build on the better society he helped create.