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Editorial: Pat Hume's contribution to peace rightly remembered

Pat Hume was a woman of talent, courage and grace

RARELY in the history of Irish politics can such breadth and depth of tributes have followed the death of someone who spent so little time in the public eye.

For five decades Pat Hume was not just the rock from which her husband John drew such remarkable strength but a counsellor, confidant and community leader in her own right during the painstaking pursuit of peace.

She ran the Foyle MP's constituency office, dealing with the many and varied requests for assistance during troubled times, as well as being a constant source of support during decades of political negotiations.

It is accepted that without her, many of the achievements John Hume has rightly been credited with simply would not have been possible. Or, in the words of the Nobel Laureate himself, "I'm the parcel and Pat delivers me."

Ahead of a dignified funeral to match that of her life, what has been striking about the tributes that have poured in is not just their warmth but how they transcend political boundaries.

DUP mayor of Derry Graham Warke, opening a book of condolence in the city's Guildhall, said: "I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank you Pat for your compassion, grace and commitment, and the life you devoted not just to your husband and your family but to all who needed a helping hand or a listening ear."

Lady Trimble, wife of former UUP leader David Trimble, said Mrs Hume was "simply one of the best people I have ever met".

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said she was a "strong and determined person whose immense contribution to our peace is recognised across this island and across the world".

When it came to honouring the memory of John Hume following his death a little over a year ago, it was fitting that Pat's name was attached to that of the foundation which will carry on their work.

The John and Pat Hume Foundation yesterday recalled the words of Fr Paul Farren at the Nobel Laureate's funeral: "When the history of Ireland is written, if Pat Hume's name is not beside John's it will be an incomplete history.”

Pat Hume's enormous contribution to both her home city and the peace and prosperity enjoyed by people across this island is now being rightly recorded and will never be forgotten.

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