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Dailies show ‘striking’ unity to honour prominent peace process architect

Northern Ireland’s daily newspapers have all honoured prominent peace process figure Lord Trimble following his death aged 77.

The Belfast Telegraph, Belfast News Letter and Irish News all splashed yesterday on tributes to the former Ulster Unionist Party leader.

He served as the First Minister of Northern Ireland, later sitting as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.

All three of the Belfast-based dailies ran with similar headlines, echoing the words of current UUP leader Doug Beattie.

Trimble Bel Tel

Mr Beattie described his predecessor as a “man of courage and vision”.

Lord Trimble won a Nobel Peace Prize alongside John Hume for his role in securing the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

Trimble NL

The News Letter, which traditionally serves Northern Ireland’s Unionist community, wrote in an editorial: That deal split unionism down the middle in a schism that is still apparent today almost a quarter century later.

“This newspaper supported the agreement strongly so naturally our admiration for its key unionist architect is immense.

“But as the warm tribute to Lord Trimble from Jim Allister, the most enduring and effective of the anti-agreement pro-Union voices, demonstrates the ex-Ulster Unionist Party chief had qualities that transcended that divide.”

Trimble Irish

And the News, which traditionally caters for the Republican community, wrote: “While the ratification of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 required the committed involvement of a range of individuals, it is clear that the historic breakthrough could not have happened without the central contribution of David Trimble.

“Mr Trimble, who has died after a short illness at the age of 77, was in many ways a reluctant politician who nevertheless developed an intellectual clarity as Ulster Unionist leader which proved crucial at a defining stage.

“There can be no doubt about the courage and vision he displayed, and it was striking that all three Belfast-based daily newspapers referred to those personal qualities in their main front page headline yesterday.”