Church and civic leaders pay tribute to John Hume
Leaders of the main churches and civic society have paid tribute to the late former SDLP leader John Hume.
Catholic archbishop Eamon Martin remembered Mr Hume as a “paragon of peace” and a “giant of a statesman”.
“Every so often we come across a person of vision, who lifts us up to see and think beyond the confines of our own, much narrower, perspectives,” he said.
“John Hume was such a man of vision, whose dreams were challenging but always achievable – whether it was ‘people helping people’ in a credit union or ‘countries assisting countries’ in the European project – he lived out the principle of “Ni neart go cur le cheile” (there is no strength without working together).
“Our prayers and thoughts are especially with his dear wife Pat and family.”
The Church of Ireland archbishop John McDowell said Mr Hume will be remembered for his “unambiguous dedication to making political change happen by purely peaceful means”.
“Those of us who are the beneficiaries of his legacy can only regret his passing while, at the same time, being thankful for his gargantuan efforts in the cause of peace and good relations,” he said.
Presbyterian moderator David Bruce added: “On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to Mr Hume’s wife Pat, their family and friends, and his colleagues.
“We remember a man who selflessly committed himself to challenging the deep-seated problems of our society. He demonstrated a genuine desire to bring people together for the common good and to build a just and peaceful society. We give thanks for peacemakers, and on this sad day, John Hume in particular.”
The President of the Methodist Church in Ireland Tom McKnight described Mr Hume as a “model of community spirit and a belief in the innate goodness of people”.
“On behalf of the entire Methodist Church in Ireland, I extend sympathies to Pat, who cared so deeply and diligently for John and for his work, and the entire extended family.
“John’s work will never be forgotten,” he said.
A proud Derry man, it's hard to overstate the importance of his role as an architect of the peace process and the positive impact he had on our society
Stephen Barker, the chairman of Derry GAA Chairman said Mr Hume was a “political titan who was a beacon of hope in our darkest times”.
“A proud Derry man, it’s hard to overstate the importance of his role as an architect of the peace process and the positive impact he had on our society. We send our condolences to his wife Pat and the Hume family,” he said.
The Irish League of Credit Unions marked the the passing of it’s past President by describing him as “one of the driving forces for the establishment of the credit union movement in Ireland and was a founding member of Derry Credit Union in 1960, Northern Ireland’s first credit union”.
“John Hume’s sense of social justice, compassion for ordinary people, and his belief in the strength of the cooperative movement was, and is, an inspiration to everyone involved in the credit union movement on the island of Ireland today,” they said.
The trade union movement also paid tribute to Mr Hume.
ICTU general secretary Patricia King said: “John Hume was a builder and a teacher, a founder and an advocate, a champion for peace and social justice at a time when both were under constant attack from all sides.
“There was a stubborn consistency to his belief in a peace which threatened nobody, and that held him through real threats from those who profited from division.”
Meanwhile a tribute was paid to Mr Hume by chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, which the former SDLP leader had helped set up.
Paddy Harte described him as “one of the greatest peacemakers of our time” and a “true inspiration to us all”.
“His passion paved the way for peace and reconciliation as we know it today, leaving those darkest days of the Troubles firmly in the past,” he said.
“He leaves a legacy for peacemakers across the world and it is thanks to his influence that I hope we can continue our journey towards peace, knowing he has played an instrumental role in our work at the Fund.
“Throughout his career, John was constantly supported by his wife Pat, and to her and the family, I offer my sincere condolences.”