- 03 Aug 20
"John Hume, through his words, his astute diplomacy and willingness to listen transformed and remodeled politics in Ireland and the search for peace," says President Michael D. Higgins
One of the great statesmen of his times, John Hume, has passed away aged 83. The sad news was broken this morning by his family and the party he lead during the height of The Troubles, the SDLP, which he helped bring to an end as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that John passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning after a short illness," reads the official statement. "We would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt thanks to the care and nursing staff of Owen Mor nursing home in Derry. The care they have shown John in the last months of his life has been exceptional.
"As a family, we are unfailingly inspired by the professionalism, compassion, and love they have shown to John and all those under their care. We can never adequately show them our thanks for looking after John at a time when we could not. The family drew great comfort in being with John again in the last days of his life."
Jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 with UUP leader David Trimble, Hume always eschewed violence whilst still wanting to bring about a united Ireland through peaceful means. He was that rarest of politicians - somebody who was genuinely respected by his opponents. Whilst warm and avuncular, he was able to handle himself in a dogfight and never cowed to threats.
Tributes have been flooding in from all quarters.
"John Hume, through his words, his astute diplomacy and willingness to listen transformed and remodeled politics in Ireland and the search for peace, with personal bravery and leadership," says President Michael D. Higgins.
"It is impossible to properly express the scale and significance of John Hume’s life," adds the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin. He was one of the towering figures of Irish public life of the last century. His vision and tenacity saved this country. We owe him and his wife Pat so much. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."
In a message that can be fully read below, Bill Clinton says: "Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend John Hume, who fought his long war for peace in Northern Ireland. His chosen weapons; an unshakable commitment to nonviolence, persistence, kindness and love."
“When others were stuck in the ritual politics of condemnation John Hume had the courage to take real risks for peace,” Gerry Adams messages.
"John Hume was quite simply a political giant," says Boris Johnson. "He stood proudly in the tradition that was totally opposed to violence and committed to pursuing his objectives by exclusively peaceful and democratic means. His vision paved the way for the stability, positivity and dynamism of the Northern Ireland of today and his passing is a powerful reminder of how far Northern Ireland has come."
"Today, we mourn the passing of one of Ireland’s greatest ever sons," adds Leo Varadkar. "He ranks alongside O’Connell and Parnell in the pantheon of Ireland’s great leaders. He was a patriot, a peacemaker, a democrat, and a great great Derryman. RIP John Hume."
"John Hume has died," Simon Coveney reflects. "Ireland, all of us, should bow our heads in respect & thanks. What an extraordinary man, peacemaker, politician, leader, civil rights campaigner, family man, Derryman, inspiration. May he rest peacefully & his legacy live on. Sincere sympathy with Pat & family."
Says Michelle O'Neill: "Saddened to hear of the death of John Hume. A huge political figure in our society for many decades. A leader who took risks that ultimately helped bring about peace. He will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with Pat and his family circle and with his SDLP family."
Northern Irish comedian Patrick Kielty adds: "So sad to hear about John Hume this morning. In our darkest days he knew the only thing worth fighting for was peace. And he refused to give up until he helped delivery it. Thank you for changing our lives. And our future. RIP."
"Codladh sámh John Hume - Ireland’s Greatest," messages Miriam O'Callaghan. "It was my greatest honour to champion you. My thoughts right now are with your adored Pat and your wonderful children. Ní bheidh a leitheid ann arís."
"So sad to hear of John Hume’s death," reflects Tony Blair's former right-hand man, Alistair Campbell. "Especially sad that he passes so soon after Seamus Mallon. Hume was an irrepressible optimist whose optimism turned out to be justified. But he also knew that alongside hope of a better future there had to be hard graft to make it happen."
"My guess is that there are many people alive today, living a blessed ordinary life, because of the work he and others did," proffers actor Stephen McGann. "There's politics for sociopaths, and there's politics for grownups. One of them keeps people alive. RIP sir."
Here's Hot Press' very personal memories of the night peace broke out in Ireland: https://www.hotpress.com/music/good-friday-agreement-at-20-the-night-when-music-met-politics-in-belfast-21980579
‘I never thought in terms of being a leader. I thought very simply in terms of helping people’.
Nobel Laureate and former SDLP Leader John Hume passed away last night. We all live in the Ireland he imagined - at peace and free to decide our own destiny.
Thank you, John. pic.twitter.com/0yO5KWaTv7
— Social Democratic and Labour Party (@SDLPlive) August 3, 2020
Statement from President Bill Clinton on the Passing of John Hume pic.twitter.com/CYV4lRCa13
— Angel Ureña (@angelurena) August 3, 2020
Interested in the life & work of #JohnHume? Episode 4 lands today, with a timely exploration of John's contribution to the #PeaceProcess.
Tune in where you like to listen.
🍏 Apple: https://t.co/3GkclOcPwz
🎧 Spotify: https://t.co/NH6MtYtcAE
#LoveQUB | #ConflictTransformation pic.twitter.com/W51aiWDBsn
— Queen's University Belfast 🎓 (@QUBelfast) August 3, 2020
I have no words that could possibly do this Man’s life and legacy justice. Perhaps I should just use the ones he said time and time again “ We Shall Overcome.”Thank you John. You gave us peace, now rest in it 🕊 #JohnHume pic.twitter.com/8UH5wqq8Hs
— Lisa McGee (@LisaMMcGee) August 3, 2020
What road would we have taken without John Hume? He showed us the way to peace, empathy and tolerance. He was truly an Irish giant. Thank you John. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/vTKQhKjDPW
— Colin Davidson (@colin_davidson) August 3, 2020
When John Hume first got dementia, he would still go on long walks, you’d always see him along the Foyle. As it progressed, people would walk with him to make sure he was alright. A few people I know walked him home. John Hume looked after us, so Derry looked after him. RIP John.
— aoife-grace moore. (@aoifegracemoore) August 3, 2020
Best photo ever. pic.twitter.com/LdkecMODCq
— Michael Bradley (@MickeyUndertone) August 3, 2020