Monday 23 April 2018

Triple peace award-winner Hume marks 80th birthday

John Hume. PA Photo: Paul Faith
John Hume. PA Photo: Paul Faith
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The giant of the peace process in Northern Ireland John Hume turns 80 today.

The milestone birthday of the civil rights activist falls against a backdrop of the collapse of Stormont and a time of political turmoil in the North.

Mr Hume was born in Derry on January 18, 1937.

He studied history and French at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Kildare, and began his career as a secondary school teacher.

However, he became increasingly politicised due to the growing social problems of the North.

Mr Hume went on to found the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and was leader from 1979 to 2001.

President Michael D Higgins said the Derry man made an "immense contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation on this island".

"John was the moral architect of an inclusive peace process that delivered the Good Friday Agreement of 1998," he said.

Current SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MLA said: "John's has been a life dedicated to peace and progress on this island. He gave himself to those causes selflessly and they have come at no little cost."

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 along with David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Married to Pat for 57 years, the couple have five children together and live in Derry. His wife spoke recently about his battle with dementia.

Irish Independent

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