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John Hume (18 January 19373 August 2020) was an
Irish nationalist Irish nationalism is a nationalist political movement which, in its broadest sense, asserts that the people of Ireland should govern Ireland as a sovereign state. Since the mid-19th century, Irish nationalism has largely taken the form of c ...
politician from Northern Ireland, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland, as one of the architects of the
Northern Ireland peace process The Northern Ireland peace process includes the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and subsequent political develo ...
. A native of
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name ''Derry'' is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name (modern Irish: ) meaning 'oak grove'. The ...
, he was a founding member of the
Social Democratic and Labour Party The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social-democratic and Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. The SDLP currently has eight members in the Northern Irela ...
(SDLP), and served as its second leader from 1979 to 2001. He also served as a
Member of the European Parliament A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to serve as a popular representative in the European Parliament. When the European Parliament (then known as the Common Assembly of the ECSC) first met in 1952, it ...
(MEP), and a Member of the UK Parliament (MP), as well as a member of the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral , house1 = , leader1_type = ...
(MLA). Hume was co-recipient of the 1998
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiolo ...
with
David Trimble William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, (15 October 1944 – 25 July 2022) was a British politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) from 1995 to 2005. He was ...
, and also received both the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. He is the only person to receive the three major peace awards. In 2012, Pope
Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: link=no, Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate of the Catholic church who served as the head of the Church and the sovereig ...
made Hume a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great. He was named " Ireland's Greatest" in a 2010 public poll by Irish national broadcaster
RTÉ (RTÉ) (; Irish for "Radio & Television of Ireland") is the national broadcaster of Ireland headquartered in Dublin. It both produces and broadcasts programmes on television, radio and online. The radio service began on 1 January 1926, whil ...
to find the greatest person in Ireland's history.


Early life and education

Hume was born in 1937 into a working-class Catholic family in Derry, the eldest of seven children of Anne "Annie" (née Doherty), a seamstress, and Samuel Hume, a shipyard worker. He had a mostly
Irish Catholic Irish Catholics are an ethnoreligious group native to Ireland whose members are both Catholic and Irish. They have a large diaspora, which includes over 36 million American citizens and over 14 million British citizens (a quarter of the Briti ...
background; though his surname derived from one of his great-grandfathers, a Scottish Presbyterian who migrated to
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county of Ireland in the province of Ulster and in the Northern and Western Region. It is named after the town of Donegal in the south of the county. It has also been known as County Tyrco ...
. Hume attended
St Columb's College St Columb's College ( ga, Coláiste Naomh Colum Cille) is a Roman Catholic boys' grammar school in Derry, Northern Ireland and, since 2008, a specialist school in mathematics. It is named after Saint Columba, the missionary monk from County Don ...
and went on to
St Patrick's College, Maynooth St Patrick's Pontifical University, Maynooth ( ga, Coláiste Naoimh Phádraig, Maigh Nuad), is the "National Seminary for Ireland" (a Roman Catholic college), and a pontifical university, located in the town of Maynooth, from Dublin, Ireland ...
, the leading Catholic seminary in Ireland and a recognised college of the
National University of Ireland The National University of Ireland (NUI) ( ga, Ollscoil na hÉireann) is a federal university system of ''constituent universities'' (previously called '' constituent colleges'') and ''recognised colleges'' set up under the Irish Universit ...
, where he intended to study for the priesthood. Among his teachers was Tomás Ó Fiaich, the future cardinal and
Primate of All Ireland The Primacy of Ireland was historically disputed between the Archbishop of Armagh and the Archbishop of Dublin until finally settled by Pope Innocent VI. ''Primate'' is a title of honour denoting ceremonial precedence in the Church, and in t ...
. Hume did not complete his clerical studies but did obtain an M.A. degree in French and history from the college in 1958, and then returned home to his native Derry, where he became a teacher at his Alma mater, St Columb's College. He was a founding member of the
Credit Union A credit union, a type of financial institution similar to a commercial bank, is a member-owned nonprofit financial cooperative. Credit unions generally provide services to members similar to retail banks, including deposit accounts, provis ...
movement in the city and was chair of the University for Derry Committee in 1965, an unsuccessful fight to have Northern Ireland's second university established in Derry in the mid-1960s. Hume became the youngest ever President of the Irish League of Credit Unions at age 27. He served in the role from 1964 to 1968. He once said that "all the things I've been doing, it's the thing I'm proudest of because no movement has done more good for the people of Ireland, north and south, than the credit union movement." Hume became a leading figure in the
civil rights movement The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social and political movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized institutional racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement throughout the Unite ...
in the late 1960s along with people such as Hugh Logue. Hume was a prominent figure in the Derry Citizens' Action Committee. The DCAC was set up in the wake of 5 October 1968 march through Derry which had caused much attention to be drawn towards the situation in Northern Ireland. The purpose of the DCAC was to make use of the publicity surrounding recent events to bring to light grievances in Derry that had been suppressed by the Unionist Government for years. The DCAC, unlike
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association ) was an organisation that campaigned for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Formed in Belfast on 9 April 1967,
(NICRA), was aimed specifically at a local campaign, improving the situation in Derry for everyone, and maintaining a peaceful stance. The committee also had a Stewards Association that was there to prevent any violence at marches or sit-downs.


Political career

Hume became an Independent Nationalist member of the
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore or ...
in 1969 at the height of the civil rights campaign. He was elected to the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral , house1 = , leader1_type = ...
in 1973, and served as Minister of Commerce in the short-lived power-sharing
Executive Executive ( exe., exec., execu.) may refer to: Role or title * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief executive officer (CEO), one of the highest-ranking corporate officers (executives) or administrators ** Executive dire ...
in 1974. He stood unsuccessfully for the
Westminster Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of Westminster, London. It alone possesses legislative supremacy ...
for the Londonderry constituency in October 1974, and was elected for Foyle in
1983 The year 1983 saw both the official beginning of the Internet and the first mobile cellular telephone call. Events January * January 1 – The migration of the ARPANET to TCP/IP is officially completed (this is considered to be the beginn ...
. In October 1971 he joined four Westminster MPs in a 48-hour
hunger strike A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke a feeling of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Mos ...
to protest at the
internment Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without charges or intent to file charges. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects". Thus, while it can simp ...
without trial of hundreds of suspected
Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans view British rule in any part of Ireland as inherently illegitimate. The develop ...
s. State papers that have been released under the 30 year rule that an Irish diplomat eight years later in 1979 believed Hume supported the return of internment. In 1977, Hume challenged a regulation under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922 which allowed any soldier to disperse an assembly of three or more people. The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Lord Lowry, held that the regulation was ''
ultra vires ('beyond the powers') is a Latin phrase used in law to describe an act which requires legal authority but is done without it. Its opposite, an act done under proper authority, is ('within the powers'). Acts that are may equivalently be termed ...
'' under Section 4 of the
Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill ...
which forbade the
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore or ...
to make laws in respect of the army. A founding member of the
Social Democratic and Labour Party The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social-democratic and Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. The SDLP currently has eight members in the Northern Irela ...
(SDLP), he succeeded
Gerry Fitt Gerard Fitt, Baron Fitt (9 April 1926 – 26 August 2005) was a politician in Northern Ireland. He was a founder and the first leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), a social democratic and Irish nationalist party. Early ye ...
as its leader in 1979. He also served as one of Northern Ireland's three
Members of the European Parliament A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to serve as a popular representative in the European Parliament. When the European Parliament (then known as the Common Assembly of the ECSC) first met in 1952, its ...
and served on the faculty of Boston College, from which he received an honorary degree in 1995. Hume was directly involved in secret talks with the British government and
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The original Sinn Féin organisation was founded in 1905 by Arthur ...
, in an effort to bring Sinn Féin to the discussion table openly. The talks are speculated to have led directly to the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. The vast majority of unionists rejected the agreement and staged a massive and peaceful public rally in
Belfast Belfast ( , ; from ga, Béal Feirste , meaning 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom ...
City Centre to demonstrate their distaste. Many Republicans and nationalists also rejected it, as they had seen it as not going far enough. Hume, however, continued dialogue with both governments and Sinn Féin. The "Hume– Adams process" eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire which ultimately provided the relatively peaceful backdrop against which the
Good Friday agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a political conflict in No ...
was brokered.


Reputation

Hume is credited as being the thinker behind many political developments in Northern Ireland, from the power-sharing Sunningdale Agreement to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Belfast Agreement. He won the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiolo ...
in 1998 alongside the then-leader of the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the Irish Home Rule m ...
,
David Trimble William David Trimble, Baron Trimble, (15 October 1944 – 25 July 2022) was a British politician who was the first First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2002, and leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) from 1995 to 2005. He was ...
. When Trimble became
First Minister A first minister is any of a variety of leaders of government cabinets. The term literally has the same meaning as "prime minister" but is typically chosen to distinguish the office-holder from a superior prime minister. Currently the title of ' ...
, it was expected that Hume would take the role of Deputy First Minister, being the leader of the second largest party, the SDLP. Instead, this role was handed to Séamus Mallon, also of the SDLP. Some political journalists cited a bad working relationship between Hume and Trimble, despite the two men collecting the Nobel Prize together. On his retirement from the SDLP leadership in 2001, Hume was praised across the political divide, even by his long-time opponent, fellow MP and MEP, the Rev.
Ian Paisley Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and First ...
. Hume held the Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies at the
University of Ulster sco, Ulstèr Universitie , image = Ulster University coat of arms.png , caption = , motto_lang = , mottoeng = , latin_name = Universitas Ulidiae , established = 1865 – Magee College 1953 - Magee Un ...
, currently funded by The Ireland Funds.


Retirement

On 4 February 2004, Hume announced his complete retirement from politics and was succeeded by Mark Durkan as SDLP leader. He did not contest the 2004 European election (when his seat was won by Bairbre de Brún of
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The original Sinn Féin organisation was founded in 1905 by Arthur ...
), nor did he run in the 2005 general election, in which Mark Durkan retained the Foyle constituency for the SDLP. Hume and his wife, Pat, continued to be active in promoting European integration, issues around global poverty and the Credit Union movement. He was also a supporter of the
Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Campaign or The Campaign may refer to: Types of campaigns * Campaign, in agriculture, the period during which sugar beets are harvested and processed *Advertising campaign, a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme * Bl ...
, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations. In retirement, he continued to speak publicly, including a visit to
Seton Hall University Seton Hall University (SHU) is a Private university, private Catholic research university in South Orange, New Jersey. Founded in 1856 by then-Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley and named after his aunt, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Seton Hall is the ...
in
New Jersey New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware R ...
in 2005, the first Summer University of Democracy of the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 46 member states, with a p ...
(
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label= Bas Rhin Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label= Haut Rhin Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est region of eastern France and the official seat of the ...
, 10–14 July 2006), and at St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, on 18 July 2007. A building added to the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, was named after him. Hume held the position of Club President of his local
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word ''football'' normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonl ...
team, Derry City F.C., which he supported all his life. He was a patron of the children's charity Plan International Ireland.


Personal life

In 1960, Hume married Patricia "Pat" Hone (22 February 19382 September 2021), a primary school teacher, whom he had first met two years earlier at a dancehall in Muff, County Donegal. The couple had five children - Thérèse, Áine, Aidan, John and Mo - as well as 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Death

In 2015, Hume was diagnosed with
Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. As ...
, of which he had first displayed symptoms in the late 1990s. Hume died in the early hours of 3 August 2020 at a nursing home in Derry, at the age of 83. On his death, former Labour leader and prime minister
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He previously served as Leader of th ...
said: "John Hume was a political titan; a visionary who refused to believe the future had to be the same as the past." The
Dalai Lama Dalai Lama (, ; ) is a title given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest and most dominant of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Da ...
said on Twitter: "John Hume's deep conviction in the power of dialogue and negotiations to resolve conflict was unwavering... It was his leadership and his faith in the power of negotiations that enabled the 1998 Good Friday Agreement to be reached. His steady persistence set an example for us all to follow."


See also

*
List of peace activists This list of peace activists includes people who have proactively advocated diplomatic, philosophical, and non-military resolution of major territorial or ideological disputes through nonviolent means and methods. Peace activists usually work ...


Awards and honours

* LL.D. (''
honoris causa An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all of the usual requirements. It is also known by the Latin phrases ''honoris causa'' ("for the sake of the honour") or '' ad hon ...
''), Boston College, 1995 (one of 44 honorary doctorates Hume was awarded) * LL.D. (''
honoris causa An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all of the usual requirements. It is also known by the Latin phrases ''honoris causa'' ("for the sake of the honour") or '' ad hon ...
''), University College Galway, 1996 * Four Freedoms, Freedom of Speech Medal Recipient, 1996 * ''Golden Doves for Peace'' Journalistic Prize, 1997 * Nobel Prize for Peace (co-recipient), 1998 * Officier de Légion d’Honneur, France, 1999 * Martin Luther King Award, 1999 * Blessed are the Peacemakers Award from Catholic Theological Union, 2000 * International Gandhi Peace Prize, 2001 * Golden Plate Award of the
American Academy of Achievement The American Academy of Achievement, colloquially known as the Academy of Achievement, is a non-profit educational organization that recognizes some of the highest achieving individuals in diverse fields and gives them the opportunity to meet o ...
, 2002 * Freedom of two cities; Derry City in 2000 &
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material), an impermeable buoyant plant product ** Cork (plug), a cylindrical or conical object used to seal a container *** Wine cork Places Ireland * Cork (city) ** Metropolitan Cork, also known ...
in 2004 * Honorary D.Litt., St. Thomas University, Fredericton, N.B., 2007 * Honorary Patron,
University Philosophical Society The University Philosophical Society (UPS; ), commonly known as The Phil, is a student paper-reading and debating society in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1683 it is the oldest student, collegial and paper-reading society in ...
, Trinity College Dublin, 2007 * Ireland's Greatest (public poll conducted by RTÉ), 2010 * Knight of Saint Gregory, 2012


Further reading

* Denis Haughey and Sean Farren, 'John Hume: Irish Peacemaker,' Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2015 * John Hume, 'Personal views, politics, peace and reconciliation in Ireland,' Town House, Dublin, 1996. * John Hume, ‘Derry beyond the walls: social and economic aspects of the growth of Derry,' Ulster Historical foundation, Belfast, 2002. * Barry White, 'John Hume: a statesman of the troubles,' Blackstaff, Belfast, 1984 * George Drower, 'John Hume: peacemaker,' Gollancz, 1995 * George Drower, 'John Hume: man of peace,' Vista, London, 1996 * Paul Routledge, 'John Hume: a biography,' Harper-Collins, London, 1997 * Gerard Murray, 'John Hume and the SDLP: impact and survival in Northern Ireland,' Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1998.


Quotes

* "Over the years, the barriers of the past—the distrust and prejudices of the past—will be eroded, and a new society will evolve, a new Ireland based on agreement and respect for difference." * "I thought that I had a duty to help those that weren't as lucky as me."


References


External links

* * including the Nobelprize Lecture on 10 December 1998
Hume's Address
to the
College Historical Society The College Historical Society (CHS) – popularly referred to as The Hist – is a debating society at Trinity College Dublin. It was established within the college in 1770 and was inspired by the club formed by the philosopher Edmund B ...
of Trinity College Dublin, on Northern Ireland
Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies at the University of Ulster
* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Hume, John 1937 births 2020 deaths Knights Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great Officiers of the Légion d'honneur Leaders of the Social Democratic and Labour Party British cooperative organizers UK MPs 1983–1987 UK MPs 1987–1992 UK MPs 1992–1997 UK MPs 1997–2001 UK MPs 2001–2005 MEPs for Northern Ireland 1979–1984 MEPs for Northern Ireland 1984–1989 MEPs for Northern Ireland 1989–1994 MEPs for Northern Ireland 1994–1999 MEPs for Northern Ireland 1999–2004 Social Democratic and Labour Party MEPs People from Northern Ireland of Scottish descent Members of the Northern Ireland Forum Members of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland 1969–1973 Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly 1973–1974 Members of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention Northern Ireland MPAs 1982–1986 Northern Ireland MLAs 1998–2003 Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for County Londonderry constituencies (since 1922) Recipients of the Gandhi Peace Prize Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nobel laureates from Northern Ireland Politicians from Derry (city) People of The Troubles (Northern Ireland) Alumni of St Patrick's College, Maynooth Deaths from Alzheimer's disease Social Democratic and Labour Party MPs (UK) People educated at St Columb's College Members of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland for County Londonderry constituencies Executive ministers of the 1974 Northern Ireland Assembly Social Democratic and Labour Party members of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland Social Democratic and Labour Party MLAs Independent members of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland Recipients of the Four Freedoms Award Deaths from dementia in Northern Ireland