Architect of Northern Irish peace process, John Hume has died at the age of 83. The founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, best known for being a driving force behind the end of the violent Troubles in Northern Ireland, passed away early in the morning of the 3rd August 2020. Hume is said to be one of the most influential politicians in recent years and his notable efforts to promote peace in Northern Ireland led to him being awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1998 alongside David Trimble. Throughout the nation, tributes have been made to Hume following his death from dementia.
Professor David Farrell, Head of University College Dublin’s (UCD) School of Politics and International Relations told The College Tribune: “John Hume was a colossal figure in Irish politics, someone who made a huge contribution to peace on these islands and whose significance was given global recognition in the award of the Nobel Peace prize. He was courageous (physically and politically), highly intelligent, tenacious, and most important of all, someone who embodied the principle that the peaceful approach is the best approach to resolving problems. As a young lecturer in the 1980s I had the good fortune of interviewing him in Strasbourg for some research I was carrying out on MEPs. He was courteous, helpful, and incredibly generous with his time. He will be fondly remembered as one of the true greats.”
The John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies in UCD is named in honour of the great politician and Noble Laureate. The institute works to develop a diverse global community and an active social network of global citizens through engagement with the past, present and future of Ireland and the Irish. A mission statement which lies in accordance with Hume’s own aspirations.
Hume became an Independent Nationalist Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1969, at the height of the civil rights campaign. Throughout his political career he continued to fight for the rights of the Irish republicans, including going on hunger strike to protest at the internment without trial of hundreds of suspected Irish republicans.
Later, Hume was directly involved in ‘secret talks’ with the British government and Sinn Féin, eventually bringing Sinn Féin to the discussion table openly. The talks are speculated to have led directly to the crucial Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. The “Hume-Adams process” eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire, and ultimately lead to the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998, cementing his legacy in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.
Sarah Connaughton – Reporter