Former Northern Ireland Prime Minister David Trimble dies

Former Northern Ireland Prime Minister David Trimble dies

David Trimble, former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland honored with a Nobel Peace Prize for having worked for reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics in the British province, died Monday (July 25) at the age of 77.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away earlier today after a short illness”the Ulster Unionist Party said in a statement on behalf of his family.

This Protestant jurist who entered politics in the early 1970s in the ranks of the unionist Vanguard party, close to the paramilitaries, helped shape, a quarter of a century later, the Good Friday Peace Agreement with the late Catholic John Hume, Nobel co-winner.

“Deeply saddened by the death of David Trimble, someone who played a crucial and courageous role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland”Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin reacted on Twitter.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “bravery” of this “giant of British and international politics”.

“He will long be remembered for his intelligence, his personal bravery and his fierce determination to change politics for the better”he tweeted.

“Courage and Vision”

Mr Trimble led the first power-sharing government to emerge from the Good Friday Agreement, which settled three decades of bloody clashes between Republicans, mostly Catholics and supporters of Irish reunification, and Unionists, mostly Protestants and defenders of keeping the province in the British Crown.

“David Trimble was a man of courage and vision. He chose to seize the opportunity for peace when it presented itself and sought to end the decades of violence that plagued his beloved Northern Ireland.responded the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Doug Beattie.

After rubbing shoulders with the extremists of Vanguard, David Trimble joined the Ulster Unionist Party (UPP) in 1978 and took over as its leader in 1995, five years after his first term as a member of the British Parliament in London.

In the fall of 1997, after the ceasefire of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), he was the first Unionist official to initiate dialogue with the Republicans of Sinn Fein, the political branch of the IRA.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 along with former Catholic leader John Hume, who died in August 2020, in recognition of “their efforts to find a peaceful solution” to the Troubles which claimed more than 3,500 lives.

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill said that “His very significant contribution to the peace process and his courage to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement leave a legacy a quarter of a century later of which he and his family can be proud.”

Northern Irish Protocol

Mr Trimble’s death comes amid political stalemate in Northern Ireland, at the heart of tensions between the UK and the European Union (EU) over the post-Brexit deal supposed to govern their relationship.

The Northern Irish protocol plans to protect the single European market without causing the return of a physical demarcation between the British province and the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, to avoid weakening the peace signed in 1998.

But the Unionists, denouncing the creation of a border in the Irish Sea within the United Kingdom, are firmly opposed to it. They have been blocking the institutions of the province since May by refusing to join the local executive with the Republicans of Sinn Fein as long as the checks are not abandoned.

To unblock the situation, the British government has presented a bill to override some of the obligations provided for in the agreement, a move deemed illegal by the EU which raises the threat of trade retaliation.

Mr Trimble, a pro-Brexit supporter, last year attacked the Northern Ireland Protocol, challenging the legality of the deal.


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