Huge audience watched John Hume's funeral on RTE - but BBC decline to say how many people viewed its coverage

Former SDLP leader was buried on August 5

JOHN HUME FUNERAL: "Even in the darkest moments, when people would have been forgiven for having no hope, John Hume made peace visible for others."

John Hume's funeral was broadcast live on RTE and the BBC.

Around 160,000 viewers watched the funeral of John Hume live on RTE last month, the Derry News has learned.

However, the BBC has not revealed how many people watched its coverage of the former SDLP leader's funeral on August 5.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, numbers were limited at the Requiem Mass in St. Eugene's Cathedral.

Under normal circumstances the streets would have been filled with people.

However, respecting coronavirus regulations, Mr Hume's family asked people to remain at home to watch proceedings either on RTE or the BBC.

An RTE spokesperson told the Derry News: “Live coverage of the funeral of John Hume broadcast on RTE One Television was watched by 160,000 viewers on average.

“There was also additional audiences who watched on RTE News Now, RTE Player and RTE online platforms.”

However, a spokesperson for the BBC said it was not possible to provide viewing figures as the service was broadcast on the website, radio and iPlayer rather than TV.

“The funeral service of John Hume was carried live by BBC News NI on our website and on a specially extended edition of Talkback on BBC Radio Ulster and remains available in full on BBC iPlayer," the BBC spokesperson said.

“It is not possible to provide audience figures for individual radio programmes and we do not share iPlayer requests on individual programmes as standard.”

John Hume was one of the most high-profile politicians in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years.

He was credited as the architect of the peace process which brought an end to the Troubles.

The Derry man was a founding member of the SDLP in 1970 and led the party from 1979 until 2001.

Hume was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble, and also received both the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award.

The former Foyle MP and MEP for NI had suffered from dementia in recent years.

Following his death, tributes were paid from across the world.

Several ideas have been proffered to honour his legacy such as naming a university after him or erecting a monument in Derry.

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