Northern Ireland news

Calls for John Hume to be awarded the freedom of Belfast are 'respectfully declined'

 John Hume and wife Pat

The wife of former SDLP leader John Hume has 'respectfully declined' calls for her husband to be awarded the freedom of Belfast.

Pat Hume said she had conveyed this to Belfast City Councillors through the SDLP.

Belfast City Council had put forward a motion for Bill Clinton and former US Senator George Mitchell to receive the freedom of the city in recognition of their role in the peace process.

There were suggestions that more worthy recipients would be Mr Hume and former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble who were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998  "for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland".

Mrs Hume said: "On behalf of John and I, I would like to thank all who have made this kind offer in relation to the freedom of Belfast City.

"However, on this occasion John will have to respectfully decline. I have conveyed this to Belfast City Councillors through our colleagues in the SDLP."

Mr Hume has been awarded both the freedom of Cork and the freedom of Derry. 

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