Northern Ireland

Bronze bust of David Trimble unveiled at Dáil

The tribute to Lord Trimble is displayed at Leinster House beside a bust of John Hume which was unveiled in March.

A bronze bust of David Trimble
David Trimble A bronze bust of former UUP leader David Trimble has been unveiled at the Dáil

A commemorative bust of Lord David Trimble has been unveiled at the seat of the Irish parliament in dedication to his work towards the Good Friday Agreement.

The former UUP leader was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 25 years ago in 1998, when it was also jointly awarded to former SDLP leader John Hume for their work negotiating the historic peace deal.

The commemoration for Lord Trimble is displayed at Leinster House beside a bust of Mr Hume which was unveiled in March, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the agreement.

Speaker of the Irish parliament, Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, previously said their peace-building work was supported and admired at Leinster House and the people of Ireland “owe them a debt of gratitude”.

Mr O Fearghail unveiled the bronze bust of Lord Trimble, which was created by the late sculptor John Sherlock, at an event on Wednesday.

Lord Trimble’s wife Lady Daphne, their daughter Vicky, son Nicholas and his wife Sarah were present alongside members of the Hume and Sherlock families, representatives of the unionist community in Northern Ireland, and serving and former members of the Irish Dail and Seanad.

Lady Trimble said the event was a reflection of the “neighbourliness and friendship” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Lord Trimble died in July last year
Lord Ballyedmond funeral Lord Trimble died in July last year (Brian Lawless/PA)

“(The agreement) was the crowning moment of both David and John’s careers and it has led to 25 years of peace and co-existence between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and for that we should all be very grateful.”

John Hume Jr said: “Together they knew what needed to be done. Together, I think we can all agree, they changed the course of history on this island.”

Also present were former Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt MLA and former UUP MP Lady Sylvia Hermon; the Church of Ireland Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev Archbishop John McDowell; the president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev David Turtle; Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Roger Gale; and former Irish premier Bertie Ahern, who played a key role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Ahern said: “I think it is so nice that the two Nobel prize winners are honoured in the same part of Leinster House. Both of them did so much to contribute to the peace process, I was honoured to work and serve with them.”

A bust of Lord David Trimble at Leinster House
David Trimble bust A bust of Lord David Trimble at Leinster House (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sir Roger said Lord Trimble and Mr Hume’s work continues, adding: “David Trimble was known to me personally as a man of colossal personal and political courage.”

The Irish houses of parliament were represented by deputy premier Micheal Martin, enterprise minister Simon Coveney, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty, Labour leader Ivana Bacik, and Seanad chairman Jerry Buttimer.

Mr O Fearghail said: “We are honouring a great Ulsterman, a courageous politician, and a dedicated peacemaker.”

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern
David Trimble bust Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said Lord Trimble stood “head and shoulders above those who resisted change” and did not want the Good Friday Agreement to succeed.

“In the end, we crossed the Rubicon. David and John, through dogged and gritty determination, gave us the political breakthrough that ended the violence, and gave Northern Ireland self-government on a cross-party, cross-community basis.

“In the heat of political battle, David was reluctant to use the word ‘vision’.

“Yet that very thing was his constant companion, which saw him through to delivering his cherished objective – peace. It may be imperfect but it is immeasurably better than what we witnessed before that point.”

Lord Trimble died in July last year and Mr Hume died in August 2020.

Mr Hume’s bust was created by sculptor Elizabeth O’Kane.