- 26 Jul 22
We also recall the historic day the Good Friday Agreement architect appeared on stage in Belfast with Bono and John Hume
Tributes have been pouring in to David Trimble, the former Ulster Unionist leader who had a pivotal role in selling the Good Friday Agreement to the Protestant community in Northern Ireland.
He went on to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and served as Stormont First Minister. Now Lord Trimble, he passed away peacefully yesterday following a short illness, aged 77.
“David Trimble took enormous personal and political risks for peace,” reflects the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar. “He put the future of Northern Ireland before his party’s interests and sought to make Northern Ireland a warmer house for all who lived there.”
President Michael D. Higgins issued this heartfelt statement:
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) July 25, 2022
Former President Bill Clinton, who was greatly invested in the Good Friday Agreement himself, issued this statement: “Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Lord David Trimble, a leader of courage, vision, and principle whose lifetime of service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
“Time after time during the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, he made the hard choices over the politically expedient ones because he believed future generations deserved to grow up free from violence and hatred.
“His faith in the democratic process allowed him to stand up to strong opposition in his own community, persuade them of the merits of compromise, and share power with his former adversaries.
“His legacy will endure in all who are living better lives because of him today.
“Hillary and I send our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Daphne, his entire family, and all the people who loved him and were inspired by his service.”
There have also been warm words from current Stormont First Minister-elect, Michelle O’Neill: “It is with genuine regret that I have learned of the passing of Former First Minister, David Trimble. I wish to offer my sincere condolences to his wife Daphne, their four children and the wider family circle who will feel his loss deeply. His very significant contribution to the peace process and his courage in helping achieve the Good Friday Agreement leaves a legacy a quarter century on for which he and his family should be rightly proud.”
Gerry Adams had this to say:
Statement on the death of David Trimble pic.twitter.com/B6VqZhf7eA
— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) July 26, 2022
As part of the move towards peace in the Six Counties, May 19, 1998 found Trimble joining U2, Ash and his SDLP counterpart John Hume at a GFA gig in the Belfast Waterfront, photos of which quickly went round the world.
Hot Press columnist Stuart Bailie gave this personal account of the historic rock ‘n’ roll-inspired events:
Trimble’s rock ‘n’ roll credentials were further boosted when U2 adorned their ‘Please’ single with Warholian images of him, Gerry Adams, John Hume and Ian Paisley.
“Rest in peace David Trimble and thank you for walking the difficult path when it mattered,” says Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee who told Hot Press recently about her enduring disappointment that she missed that Waterfront gig.
Here are some more of the tributes that have been paid to David Trimble:
David Trimble showed leadership at a time when Northern Ireland so badly needed it. All politicians from all traditions should be inspired by his courage.
My thoughts tonight are with his family, his wife Daphne, his UUP colleagues & unionist community. https://t.co/60XnF9ZkzJ
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) July 25, 2022
Rest in peace David Trimble. One day we, as a society, will come to realise your seismic contribution to peace in this place. Thank you David. pic.twitter.com/uLe28cGgNP
— Colin Davidson (@colin_davidson) July 25, 2022
He was no craic, he lacked charisma, & he was the most unlikely rocker joining Bono on stage. But this shy, awkward man had incredible courage. David Trimble couldn't go out without a bodyguard. DUP supporters sang about burning him to death, but he never for one second wavered. pic.twitter.com/C2NmgMSZiI
— Suzanne Breen (@SuzyJourno) July 25, 2022
I am extending the hand of commiserations to the family of David Trimble…he played a key role in the good Friday Agreement.
Let’s keep working for peace to continue on this Island.
— Charlie Bird (@charliebird49) July 25, 2022
On the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Lord David Trimble reflecting on what it meant to him
“ It was the greatest thing in my life, was and still is”
He has left a tremendous legacy, one that we must vigilantly protect and uphold.#rip pic.twitter.com/sMC4YZW9XH
— Deirdre Heenan (@deirdreheenan) July 25, 2022
“There are two traditions in Northern Ireland. There are two main religious denominations. But there is only one true moral denomination. And it wants peace.”
David Trimble was a courageous leader to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. Thoughts with his family and UUP colleagues.
— Eóin Tennyson (@EoinTennyson) July 25, 2022
"We should be encouraged by having come so far, and face into the next hill, rather than the mountain beyond. It is not that the mountain is not in my mind, but the hill has to be climbed first."
David Trimble : Nobel Lecture, Oslo, Dec 10, 1998
A brave & courageous leader. pic.twitter.com/7euqW8vsOc
— Robin Swann : North Antrim UUP MLA (@RobinSwannMoH) July 25, 2022