The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, paid tribute today to Nobel Laureate and former leader of the SDLP, John Hume, who died today aged 83.
John Hume will be remembered as a champion of the people of Derry and beyond, dedicating his life to achieving peace and reconciliation and as a key architect of the Good Friday Agreement.
A Book of Condolence will be opened by the Mayor today in the Guildhall later this afternoon to allow local people the opportunity to pay tribute to John Hume.
Cllr Tierney extended his deepest condolences to John’s wife Pat and his children, and said John had been an inspirational leader, and a politician without parallel in modern history.
“I have so many memories of John Hume and the enduring role he played in Irish politics over the years,” he said.
“It’s impossible to appreciate the full extent of John’s role in shaping the place we live in today. As a young man John fought against discrimination and injustice in his role at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, lending a strong voice to the nationalist population. A natural leader, his charisma, his intellect and his great sense of optimism and faith fuelled his vocation to bring about a better future for those in greatest need.
“It’s fitting that John Hume was awarded three of the greatest accolades in the international campaign for Peace – the Martin Luther King Award, the Ghandi Peace Award and the Nobel Prize for Peace. He absolutely reviled the use of physical force, and was undaunted in his criticism of those who used it, advocating for peace through some of the most awful tragedies of the Troubles, despite the risk to his own life. His philosophy was always that politics was the alternative to war and he upheld that belief throughout his life.
“John was a visionary, relentless in his pursuit of the future he wanted for the people of Derry and the people of this country. He made many personal sacrifices along the way, but never lost sight of his ultimate ambition – an end to prejudice and a peaceful and prosperous society for all.
“I send my deepest heartfelt condolences today to John’s wife Pat and his family, who gave such unwavering support to John throughout both his political career, and later when he became ill. They perhaps have made the biggest sacrifice, allowing him the freedom to follow the difficult path to peace, despite the great personal cost.
“Today is a sad day for Derry, the North and all of Ireland. We have lost a champion, a leader and a proud son of Derry. His legacy will live on in all of us, and we all have a duty to celebrate and honour that legacy and do all we can to uphold John Hume’s vision of an enduring peace.”
Local people are invited to pay tribute to John Hume and express their condolences with his family later today - time to be confirmed. Visitors signing the Book of Condolence at the Guildhall are advised that social distancing measures will be in place and we would ask visitors to adhere to the guidance of Guildhall staff.
An online Book of Condolence will also be available at www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Mayor/Mayors-Book-of-Condolences