by Gareth Cross

A new documentary film looking at the key role John Hume and American politicians played in the peace process is to receive it's Derry premiere next weekend.

'In The Name of Peace: John Hume in America" will be shown at the Guildhall next Sunday (November 26) as part of the Foyle Film Festival.

The showing begins at 2pm and will have a special introduction from Director Maurice Fitzpatrick.

It will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Derry born journalist Susan McKay.

The panel will be made up of writers and academics including Mr Fitzpatrick, Póilín Ní Chiaráin and Dr Peter McLoughlin. Also on the panel is former Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

The film is narrated by Ballymena actor Liam Neeson and looks at the work of Mr Hume in trying to find a solution to the political violence in Northern Ireland.

He visited America often during 'The Troubles' to garner American support and assistance in trying to establish peace.

Among the contributors to the documentary are former American Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Other contributors include, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major, former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon, Gerry Adams and U2's Bono.

Mr Hume's close relationship with President Clinton saw him visit Derry on numerous occasions

Mr Fitzpatrick has also written a book 'John Hume in American, From Derry to DC' to accompany the film.

The book contains a number of revelations including the claim that Mr Hume was held captive by the IRA leadership for several days in 1985 after a meeting broke down.

It alleges that the meeting fell apart after Mr Hume refused to be filmed during discussions in County Mayo.


Meanwhile, after viewing the film at its Dublin premier on Friday night former President of Ireland Mary McAleese paid tribute to Mr Hume.

Ms McAleese said that Hume was "Northern Ireland's Martin Luther King" and called him "the greatest political problem solver of our time".

She said that Mr Hume worked in America to “bring peace, to bring justice and to bring equality to his troubled homeland, with its brick-wall, sectarian, petty, provincial politics”.

“To break that open was his job, to let fresh air flow through it. And to bring the grace of decency and integrity and truth to those politics,” she said.

The former President said that Mr Hume's work came at a large personal price.

“Tonight John is not with us; his health of course doesn’t allow him to be in our company. He did all of this over many, many years against a relentless background of seething scepticism and criticism from so many quarters," she said.

"The personal toll was huge. I hope there is another documentary about Pat Hume. The toll on all of the Hume family was huge, but the sacrifice was made because the price of peace was huge.”

Mr Hume was unable to attend the Dublin screening because of his health.

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