September 30, 2022

Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble, the former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, has died aged 77, his Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) said Monday.

Trimble helped negotiate the landmark 1998 peace deal in the troubled British province, which ended decades of conflict, and won the award that year along with his Republican counterpart John Hume.

“It is with great sadness that Lord Trimble’s family announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today after a short illness,” the UUP said in a statement.

No further details were given about his death.

Trimble, who led the party for ten years from 1995, has been a Conservative colleague since 2006 in the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament.

“A political giant, a courageous politician, a staunch trade unionist and a friend,” Doug Beattie, the current UUP leader, said on Twitter, adding in a statement that he was “a man of courage and vision.”

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 largely ended 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland that left 3,500 dead, and is still hailed as a shining example of statecraft.

Despite resistance within his union community, which promotes ties between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, Trimble brought his cohort to the table in lengthy peace talks.

As part of the peace process, he became the first party leader in 30 years to meet with the Irish Prime Minister in Dublin and in 1997 became the first trade union leader since split negotiations with Republican party Sinn Fein.

Following the 1998 agreement, he served as First Minister of Northern Ireland, alongside SDLP Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon as Deputy First Minister.

See also  PM Truss to face grilling in parliament on plans to offset cost of living

Brandon Lewis, who resigned as British government secretary for Northern Ireland earlier this month, called him “a brilliant statesman and dedicated civil servant”.

“His legacy as the architect of the Good Friday Agreement will live on forever,” he tweeted.

“The people of the UK owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all he has accomplished for our Union.”

(AFP)