27 Sept 2022

Lisa McGee: "There would be no Derry Girls without John Hume because I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I had."

Derry writer pays tribute to former SDLP leader who died today

The writer of groundbreaking comedy Derry Girls says without the legacy of John Hume the show would never have been written.

Lisa McGee was doing her A-Levels at Thornhill College when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, and grew up knowing about Mr Hume's work for the peace process.

"He was just there all the time," she recalled.

"There wasn't a time that you didn't know about him."

"There was never any debate about it, he was a good man.

"At a time where everything was debated about and talked about nobody ever questioned that.

"Not that you would ever have needed to, or have wanted to, question what he was doing."

Ms McGee said the news of Mr Hume's death on Monday morning came as a shock, despite knowing that he had been ill for some time.

"He was a hero who walked among us," she said.

"I got really upset; I was surprised at how emotional I felt. We were just so used to having him.

"It was phenomenal what he did, the influence he had and the amazing vision of what our future should be."

Ms McGee believes hundreds of people owe their life to Mr Hume, due to his role in the cessation of violence.

"He was an incredible person and he was sent here for a reason," she said.

"I was just thinking yesterday of all the people that may not be here if he hadn't been able to do what he did and built the peace process.

"When you think of everything he did and  he never gave up- thank God."

Ms McGee doesn't know if John Hume ever watched Derry Girls, but she hopes he would have approved.

"I don't know if he ever saw it, but he and Pat knew I was a big fan," she said.

"I hope they thought it was alright.

"He was always in the background in the news, so he was present in the show.

"And Erin chats about him a lot in the Derry Girls book that I did recently.

"There would be no Derry Girls without John Hume because I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I had,” she added.

The Derry writer that she wants her two young children to learn about John Hume as they grow up.

"There was an amazing image of him on the front of the Irish Times today [Tuesday] and I want to get that framed for the house because it's important that they know about him," she said.

"This was always going to be a very sad time because it was always going to be about looking back over the past and that was a very painful time in our history.

"It has been a sad thing for me that towards the end of his life he couldn't remember everything he achieved.

"That's why we have to remember for him.”

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