Books of condolence open to pay tribute to Lord Trumbull, the ‘builder of peace’.

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Tributes have been opened in memory of David Trumbull as local and international political leaders hailed his contribution to peace in Northern Ireland.

The 77-year-old peer and former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party was one of the key architects of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement that ended decades of conflict in the region.

Lord Trumbull, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late SDLP leader John Hume, died of illness on Monday.

His death comes amid another political crisis in Stormont, with the DUP stalling the formation of a power-sharing administration in protest over the Northern Ireland protocol of Brexit.

The Northern Ireland Assembly will hold a special sitting next Tuesday to pay tribute to Lord Trumbull.

His funeral will be held at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn on Monday at 12.30pm.

During an emotional ceremony at Stormont on Tuesday, current UUP leader Doug Beattie laid a bouquet of flowers under a portrait of Lord Trumbull, before pausing for a moment of quiet reflection.

Mr Beattie then said that Lord Trumbull had maintained his passion for politics and reconciliation in Northern Ireland until his death.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Tina Black opens a book of condolence for former Northern Ireland Prime Minister and Ulster Unionist Party leader Lord David Trumbull (Liam McBurnie/PA) at Belfast City Hall. / PA Wire

He said: “I will never be able to fill David Trumbull’s shoes but I am very proud to be leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and to be able to look back on David’s passing and say that he was once He was the leader of the party. This great party.

“In my conversations with him, even as frail as he had become in the last months, he had a fire in his eyes for politics, a fire in his eyes for peace in Northern Ireland. He had a fire in his eyes. He went to try to heal the division that had destroyed that part of Britain.

“He was a great unionist, he was a great politician. A lot of people in the party that I’ve spoken to are really feeling his loss today and they have to come to terms with him in the next few days. Will be needed.

Books of condolence were opened in both cities in Belfast and Londonderry, as well as in several other locations in Northern Ireland.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Tina Black said the people of Northern Ireland today benefited from the leadership of Lord Trumbull and others.

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill speaks about the death of David Trimble during a visit to Cookstown (Sinn Fein/PA) / PA Media

Sinn Féin’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill said Lord Trumbull should serve as an inspiration and example to the current generation of Stormont politicians.

“I think none of us should underestimate what was accomplished in 1998 and David Trumbull had the courage to step up in his leadership role, to bring people with him, to work with others.

“I think that should be a message for all of us today, 24 years later. It takes courage. It takes leadership. It really takes parties working together to get things done, and we still have that commitment today. is required as it was in 1998.

Former US President Bill Clinton said that people are living better today because of David Trumbull’s sacrifices.

In a statement Mr Clinton said: “Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Lord David Trumbull, a leader of courage, vision and principle whose lifelong service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.

“Time and time again during the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, he made tough choices against the politically expedient because he believed that future generations deserved to grow up free of violence and hatred. .

“His faith in the democratic process allowed him to confront strong opposition in his community, convince them of the merits of compromise, and share power with his former opponents.

“His legacy will live on in all those who live better today because of him.

“Hillary and I send our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Daphne, his entire family, and all those who loved him and were touched by his service.”

Former US President Bill Clinton, second from right, jokes with Seamus Mellon and David Trimble as they visit the White House in Washington (Paul Faith/PA) / PA Archive

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “The United States is saddened to learn of the death of Lord David Trumbull, former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

“Lord Trumbull has shown the integrity and compromise needed to help Northern Ireland move beyond its violent past.

“His steadfastness during the initial political negotiations underscored the strength of his convictions as well as his deep commitment to bridging communal divides.

“As a strong supporter of power sharing and a key architect of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, his political legacy is the stability and prosperity that the region enjoys today.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown tweeted that Lord Trumbull was “an architect of peace in Northern Ireland”.

DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson described Lord Trumbull as a “titan of unionism”.

Sir Geoffrey left the Ulster Unionist Party in 2003 and defected from the DUP after he fell out with his then party leader over the Good Friday Agreement and the dismantling of the IRA.

But he told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme: “There is no doubt that David was a titan of unionism.

“He was someone who believed passionately in the Union and I have to say that despite our differences in later years when I was in the Ulster Unionist Party, he was someone I got on very well with. “

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday evening that Lord Trumbull’s achievements would never be forgotten.

“He was a giant of British and international politics and will be remembered for his intelligence, personal bravery and fierce commitment to improving politics,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin credited his “pivotal contribution” to efforts to secure peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.

He said, “All of us in politics at this time witnessed his important and courageous role in the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement and his leadership in building support for the agreement in his party and in his community.” ,” They said.

Irish President Michael D Higgins praised Lord Trumbull’s “life of public service”.

Former British and Irish prime ministers, Sir Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, who were both involved in the intense Good Friday talks, also paid tribute.

Sir Tony said his contribution was “immense, unforgettable and clearly irreplaceable” while Mr Ahern described him as a “courageous” leader.

Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, once a bitter political opponent of the unionist leader, thanked him for helping to secure the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.