David Trimble wrote to Martin McGuinness before his death

David Trimble and Martin McGuinness with former BBC journalist Martina Purdy in 2005. File picture by Brendan Murphy

FORMER Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble wrote to Martin McGuinness several days ago saying he had been "indispensable" in helping republicans move towards power-sharing.

The former First Minister said he wanted to "say how much we appreciated all that you did to make that (devolution) happen".

And he suggested this month's talks aimed at restoring power-sharing would have greater chance of success if Mr McGuinness were "at the helm".

In a letter dated March 12, Mr Trimble wrote Mr McGuinness had "reached out to the Unionist community in a way some of them were reluctant to reach out to you".

He praised the former deputy first minister's "even-tempered manner" which was "never at the expense of your principles".

"Perhaps the best expression of your approach was your meeting with Queen Elizabeth," he wrote.

"There are many today, as we sit with the clock ticking down to the deadline for getting the institutions up and running again, who think that if you were at the helm, we would face this prospect with greater optimism."


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