By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 25 July 2022 • 21:57
Leader of the party between 1995 and 2005, Lord Trimble won the Nobel Peace Prize along with SDLP leader John Hume for their efforts in ending the troubles in Northern Ireland.
Lord Trimble was an important negotiator in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the province after years of sectarian violence.
The first person to fulfil the role of first minister, Lord Trimble has sat in the House of Lords since stepping down as the UUP leader in 2006. There he is known as Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey.
The statement issued by the UUP said: “It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness.”
Doug Beattie, UUP Leader currently described Lord Trimble as a “political giant” saying: “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.”
Many others have spoken of their respect for Lord Trimble saying they are saddened by his passing, a great loss to Northern Irland. Among those is Taoiseach Micheál Martin who said that Lord Trimble played “a crucial and courageous role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.”
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said that without Lord Trimble’s political bravery, the Good Friday Agreement would never have been signed adding that he was “one of the most consequential political leaders of the last century.”
Despite the accolades, Lord Trimble was criticised by others within political unionism for signing up to the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP in particular believed that he agreed a deal that allowed Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA, to enter into the devolved government. This, before they decommissioned their weapons.
After losing his seat in 2005 to a DUP challenger he entered the House of Lords as a member of the Conservative Party.
In 2005, he lost his House of Commons seat to a DUP challenger and went on to enter the House of Lords where he sat as a Conservative Party peer.
The former Northern Ireland first minister left a long-lasting legacy that has ensured continued peace in the province, despite the ongoing squabbles and differences of opinion that are a feature of Northern Ireland’s politics.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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