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Ireland wishes 'visionary peacemaker' John Hume a happy birthday

The founder and formal leader SDLP has been at the heart of Northern Ireland’s peace process.

IRISH POLITICIANS AND journalists have been wishing John Hume, a political heavyweight who was central to the Northern Peace Process, a happy 80th birthday.

President Michael D Higgins took his brithday to celebrate Hume’s long dedication to peace in Ireland, calling him the “moral architect of an inclusive peace process”, and “a man of courage, a committed European and a dedicated and visionary peacemaker”.

“Responding to the fault-lines of sectarianism and injustice which he encountered in his early adult life, John Hume always rejected the use of violence as an instrument of change; following the principle that an “eye for eye” approach leaves us all blind.

He stood resolutely for the transformational power of non-violence.

“By providing leadership to those who dedicated themselves to achieving peace, partnership and equality through dialogue and democratic engagement, John motivated and inspired many of the best men and women of his generation, and they in turn would go onto give so much of themselves in the promotion of the project of a peaceful and reconciled island.”

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Historic figure

John Hume has had a long political career, founding and leading the SDLP, as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Westminster Parliament and the European Parliament.

Hume was central to  path to peace and reconciliation in Ireland – from Sunningdale (1973) and the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) to the paramilitary cease-fires of 1994 and ultimately to the Good Friday Agreement.

His role in the Peace Process gained Hume international recognition as a peacemaker, culminating in the allocation of a Nobel Peace Prize in April 1998, alongside David Trimble.

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