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Taoiseach will attend funeral of David Trimble on Monday


David Trimble. Picture: PA

David Trimble. Picture: PA

David Trimble. Picture: PA

The Taoiseach is to attend the funeral of David Trimble in Lisburn on Monday, senior sources have confirmed.

The funeral service for the former First Minister of Northern Ireland will take place in Lisburn on Monday, the Ulster Unionist Party said today.

Micheál Martin's schedule will be reworked to allow him to be present at the obsequies for the original First Minister of Northern Ireland under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney could also represent the Government at the event, while Áras an Uachtaráin is considering media queries on whether President Michael D Higgins might attend. He would need Government permission to leave the State.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is thought likely to attend, along with serving members of the Oireachtas. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has been asked his intentions, with the new Northern Secretary Shailesh Vara expected to be in attendance. Downing Street could make an announcement later as to further British Government representation, it is understood, while the US State Department will be represented in some capacity.

The service will be held at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church at 12.30pm on Monday.

Mr Trimble passed away at the age of 77 following a short illness and tributes from Northern Ireland and internationally have poured in for the politician who is credited as being the architect for peace in the province.

On Monday night, the Trimble family announced “with great sadness” that the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, former first minister had “passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness”.

Books of condolence to the former leader are to be opened across Northern Ireland, including at Belfast City Hall, which will open their book in the reception of the civic building at 2pm.

Lord Mayor of the city Tina Black will open the book of condolence in Lord Trimble’s memory, with Derry City and Strabane Mayor Sandra Duffy opening a book in Derry’s Guildhall.

The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Paul Greenfield has opened an online book of condolence.

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Meanwhile, officials at Stormont confirmed they are currently discussing plans for the Assembly to mark Lord Trimble’s death and an announcement is expected later on Tuesday.

Earlier, current UUP leader Doug Beattie said Lord Trimble “grasped the nettle of peace”.

Mr Beattie also laid flowers underneath a portrait of Mr Trimble in Stormont.

"He put his head above the parapet and there are people alive today who would not have been alive if he had not done what he done,” Mr Beattie told BBC NI’s Good Morning Ulster.

"What price can you put on peace and what price can you put on a life? What David did was the right thing to do. I think he took the right decisions.

"He did believe in peace, he did believe he had one opportunity and he wanted to grab that opportunity. He set us on a course which was the right direction to go.

"His legacy is about bringing peace to Northern Ireland, something we never thought we would get to.

"My thoughts are really with Lady Trimble today and the whole family.”

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