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UK News

Archbishop pays tribute to former first minister of Northern Ireland Lord Trimble who's died, aged 77

by Alex Collett

Former first minister for Northern Ireland David Trimble has died at the age of 77-years-old.

Lord Trimble, who became Northern Irish first minister in the power-sharing government that emerged from the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, was one of the chief architects of the accord that mostly ended three decades of bloodshed in the region.

His family said he passed away peacefully following a short illness on Monday.

Most Rev John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has shared the following statement on his death: 

"The death of Lord Trimble has removed one of the major figures in the political life of Northern Ireland and of these islands. 

"In an age where leadership has become thinned out and almost paralysed by slavish attention to shifting opinion, Lord Trimble represented a different sort of politician. 

"Although unshakeable in his allegiance to the Union, he was one of the first unionist leaders for whom the word 'agreement' had positive moral, social and political value. 

"Lord Trimble had perhaps the greatest of public virtues - courage: both the courage of his convictions and the courage to acknowledge the heartfelt and sincere convictions of others. 

"He had also a forensic quality of mind and an aptitude for attention to detail which went far beyond the merely lawyerly.

"The path of the peacemaker, by its nature, is never an easy road to tread. 

"It was the conviction that hard political and moral choices, accompanied by much personal sacrifice, would lead to a reconciled and better future that led Lord Trimble, the late John Hume, and many others to take the lead in building a better future for all in Northern Ireland.

"I extend my deepest condolences to Lady Daphne and her family at this time."

Former US President Bill Clinton has also expressed his condolences calling Lord Trimble 'a leader of courage and vision.'  

In a statement, President Clinton said he and his wife were "deeply saddened" by Lord Trimble's death, saying his "lifetime of service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland."

He said: "Time after time during the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, he made the hard choices over the politically expedient ones because he believed future generations deserved to grow up free from violence and hatred.

"His faith in the democratic process allowed him to stand up to strong opposition in his own community, persuade them of the merits of compromise, and share power with his former adversaries. His legacy will endure in all who are living better lives because of him today."

Former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair said without Lord Trimble, the Good Friday Agreement would not have been possible.

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