Former First Minister, Lord Trimble, dies

Former First Minister, Lord Trimble, dies

Former UUP leader, David Trimble, who has died.

Staff reporter


Staff reporter

Monday 25 July 2022 20:19

The former First Minister of Northern Ireland, Lord Trimble, has died.

The 77-year-old was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement.

David Trimble had become the MP for Upper Bann in 1990 following the death of Harold McCusker and came to prominence partly due the Drumcree disputes of the 1990s.

In 1995 he became the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, leading the party until 2005.

He became a peer in 2006 and left the UUP to join the Conservatives a year later.

His work throughout the peace process led to him awarded the Nobel Peace Price alongside the SDLP's Seamus Mallon.

Posting on Facebook tonight, the current leader of the UUP, Doug Beattie MLA - whose seat is in Upper Bann - said, "Tonight’s news will cause deep sadness throughout Northern Ireland and much further afield.

"David Trimble was a man of courage and vision. He chose to grasp the opportunity for peace when it presented itself and sought to end the decades of violence that blighted his beloved Northern Ireland.

"He will forever be associated with the leadership he demonstrated in the negotiations that led up to the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

"The bravery and courage he demonstrated whilst battling his recent illness was typical of the qualities he showed in his political career, at Stormont and at Westminster.

"He will be remembered as a First Minister, as a Peer of the Realm and as a Nobel Prize Winner. He will also be remembered as a great Unionist.

"On behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party, and with a very heavy heart, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Lady Trimble and his children, Richard, Victoria, Sarah and Nicholas."

Slieve Croob UUP representative, Cllr Alan Lewis, said he was "saddened" by news of Lod Trimble's death.. 

"The debate on his legacy, career and leadership of the Ulster Unionist party have been rehearsed and will undoubtedly be poured over in days / weeks that follow," he said.

"Regardless of the personal opinion and differences which Unionism had it is worth noting that David was a political leader, stalwart of unionism at a time when such a career was not only unfavourable but dangerous. 

"Opinions would differ but many would credit David Trimble with having the foresight to recognise that power sharing with the SDLP could bring stable, transparent and workable institutions home to Northern Ireland. 

"Courages in his beliefs that together we could achieve far more than apart David will be remembered as the First Minister who re-establish the Northern Ireland Assembly, ensuring that Republicans not through bomb bullet or murder signed up the overriding principal of consent. 

"Decisions are never easy, history is rarely kind but politics and political disagreements aside, a family mourns and Unionism has lost someone who dedicated the majority of his life to constituency service in the betterment of others."

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn added: "I think history will remember him as a politician who, in a really difficult time, when we were trying to end 30 years of violence, in spite of everything, stood up and put his name to that agreement.

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