John Hume pictured with Michael D Higgins.
The Republic's President, Michael D Higgins, said John Hume was someone who created 'a light of hope' in the 'most difficult of times'.
Mr Higgins paid tribute to the legacy of the Derry politician who died earlier today at the age of 83.
“John Hume, through his words, his astute diplomacy and willingness to listen to what was often difficult to accept but was the view of the ‘Other’, transformed and remodelled politics in Ireland, and the search for peace, with a personal bravery and leadership, and with a steadfast informed by a steadfast belief in the principles and values of genuine democracy,” he said.
“John’s deep commitment to these values and his practical demonstration of tolerance and social justice, oftentimes in the face of strong opposition and tangible threats to his person and his family, asserted the fundamental principles of democracy.
“He and those others who helped usher in a discourse that enabled a new era of civil rights and responsive government that few would have thought possible, have placed generations in their debt, have been a source of hope.”
Mr Higgins said the awarding of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize to John Hume brought great joy not only to his people in Derry, his colleagues in politics, particularly in the SDLP, but to a 'wider global set of colleagues and fellow advocates for peace abroad who held him in the greatest esteem and admiration'.
“Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, as President of Ireland, may I say how deeply grateful we all should be that we had such a person as John Hume to create a light of hope in the most difficult of times.
“It was Seamus Mallon, that other great statesman and courageous peace seeker and builder, who observed: “Inside was a man who had something big to do. There is a greatness about his political life in what he did and what he helped to do. I would put him in the same breath as Parnell and Daniel O Connell.”
“We are grieving in this difficult year 2020 for two great apostles and seekers of peace.
“Whatever the loss to all on this island, to his family his loss is greatest. To his wife Pat, his children, and all those who loved him, Sabina and I send our deepest sympathy.
“Siochán siorraí le a anam.”
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