Former Northern Ireland Prime Minister David Trimble died Monday, July 25, at the age of 77, the Ulster Unionist Party announced. “It is with great sadness that Lord Trimble’s family announce that he has passed away earlier today [lundi] after a short illness”the party said in a statement.
The politician was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics in the British province. This Protestant jury entered politics in the early 1970s in the ranks of the unionist Vanguard party, close to the paramilitaries, helped shape, a quarter of a century ago, the Good Friday peace agreement with Catholic John Hume, Nobel co-winner.
He led the first power-sharing government resulting from this agreement that settled three decades of bloody fighting between Republicans, mostly Catholic and supporters of Irish reunification, and Unionists, mostly Protestants and defenders of the continuity of the province. .
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “so sad” by the death of Mr. Trimble, saluting the “brave” it “giant of British and international politics”. “He will long be remembered for his intelligence, his personal courage and his fierce determination to change politics for the better”SAYS the conservative leader on Twitterto believe that “Its legacy and achievements will not be forgotten by the people of the United Kingdom”.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said, for his part, “so sad” by the death of Mr. Trimble. she praised on Twitter the “Important and courageous role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland” played by the Nobel Peace Prize winner. “David is a great guy, who was instrumental in getting the deal done [du Vendredi saint] and in the creation of Northern Ireland today. My thoughts are with his family.”, tweeted the head of British diplomacy and Downing Street candidate, Liz Truss.
“David Trimble is a man of courage and vision. He chose to seize the opportunity for peace when it presented itself and sought to end the decades of violence that plagued his beloved Northern Ireland.the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Doug Beattie, also reacted. “Very sad news. David Trimble is a prominent figure in Northern Irish and British politics.replied the leader of the British opposition, Keir Starmer.
William David Trimble was born on October 15, 1944 in a middle-class family in Bangor, in the east of the British province of Northern Ireland. With a conscientious demeanor, he earned a law degree in 1968 at Queen’s University in Belfast, where he later taught.
First Unionist official to speak to Sinn Fein
Surprisingly, this great fan of Elvis Presley appeared for a long time as an ardent defender of the hard line against the Catholics, which contributed to the failure of peace attempts. In 1974, he was one of the protesters against the Sunningdale Agreement, the first draft of a political settlement of the Northern Irish question. In 1985, he opposed the Anglo-Irish agreement, another failed attempt.
After crushing the shoulders of Vanguard extremists, David Trimble joined the Ulster Unionist Party (UPP) in 1978 and took over as leader in 1995, five years after his first term as a member of the British Parliament in London. The election as head of the UPP of this famous member of the Order of Orange, the most powerful Protestant brotherhood in the province, thanks to a very strong program, seems to make any negotiation with the opposing party impossible. .
“Trimble was seen by nationalists as (…) an ill-tempered and angry Unionist, with a typical hard-headed attitude”which was lined up in 1999 by the British daily The Guardian. But Trimble defied the odds, cautiously approaching the negotiating table, with undoubted pragmatism and political acumen.
In the autumn of 1997, after the cease-fire with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), he was the first Unionist official to open a dialogue with the Republicans of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA – even though its leader Gerry Adams “the most terrible man[il ait] never met”. Once the peace treaty was signed, after months of intense discussions, he spared no effort to convince the Unionists who were crying betrayal to accept the historic compromise.
Three years after marching on the hand of fundamentalist Ian Paisley during an Orange march, David Trimble shook hands with Irish singer Bono (U2) and John Hume during a peace concert in Belfast that helped the victory of “yes” ” vote on the referendum on the agreement on Good Friday.
But peace is not a long calm river and power sharing is proving difficult. The IRA disarmament issue – effective in 2005 – led to the suspension of regional institutions four times, until their complete suspension in October 2002 for five years following allegations of espionage targeting member of Sinn Fein.
In 2005, David Trimble suffered a crushing defeat in the British legislative elections. He then joined the Conservative Party and the House of Lords. In 2019, this Brexit supporter and father of four children admitted to the Upper House that he reconsidered his opposition to same-sex marriage after the union of his eldest daughter with his partner.