John Hume (81), a religious man, led a life devoted to peace, reconciliation, and the wellbeing of his community, his family and many his friends and colleagues across the political divide.
Flags are flying at half mast in Dublin, and Senator George Mitchell who chaired the All-Party Talks in the Nineties that led to the Good Friday Agreement has also joined the ranks of the many paying tribute to him as a giant in Irish politics.
Former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie pays tribute to John Hume.
Lady Ritchie said: “Speaking in tribute to the Northern Ireland politician and Nobel Prize winner John Hume, whose death was announced on Monday, former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie said: “With the death of John Hume, Ireland has lost one of its greatest and most important political figures.
“John’s ceaseless work to bring peace, reconciliation and understanding to this island created a legacy that will stretch forward across the generations.
“He was the reason I joined the SDLP and a regular and always welcomed visitor to my former constituency of South Down.
“John’s respect for our different traditions and determination that we should spill sweat and not blood will set him alongside Charles Stewart Parnell and Daniel O’Connell as a defining and much respected figure in Irish history.
“John established the strategy and provided the framework for the solution of our political constitutional difficulties through the three sets of relationships out of which was born the Good Friday Agreement
“We are all the poorer for his passing. My deepest sympathies to his widow, Pat, sons, daughters, grandchildren and wider family circle”.
Assembly Speaker Marks The Death Of John Hume.
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, has expressed his sympathies on the passing of John Hume.
The Assembly Speaker said: “This year has sadly seen the passing of many of the Members who helped establish the Assembly in 1998, but John Hume’s legacy dates from long before that.
“As a teacher, a leader of the civil rights movement, the leader of his party and a public representative, he was dedicated to achieving peace and social justice in the interests of our whole community.
“In doing so he demonstrated tremendous leadership, no matter the risks that were involved and will undoubtedly be remembered for his tireless efforts to build political agreement.
“As Speaker of the Assembly, I should also record his role as a parliamentarian in the chambers of Belfast, London and Brussels which helped build his reputation as an influential figure internationally.”
Mr Maskey added: “I will make arrangements for the Assembly to recognise his service at the next sitting and it is clear that his huge contribution to this society will endure.
“However, for today, a family is grieving the loss of a husband, father and a grandfather and on behalf of the Assembly, I express our condolences to his wife Pat, his children, grandchildren and his brothers and sisters.”