Belfast Telegraph

He was indispensable to talks: Trimble

Former First Minister David Trimble wrote to Martin McGuinness after learning of his illness to tell him of his appreciation for his peace process work.

The former UUP leader said many would feel "greater optimism" if he was "at the helm" in the current crisis.

In a letter dated March 12, which Mr Trimble has released, he said there were many "... 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".

In the letter Mr Trimble spoke of his "appreciation" for the Sinn Fein veteran's work.

He said: "On reflection, I thought it behoved me as the First Minister when we first achieved devolution to the Assembly... some eighteen years ago, to say how much we appreciated all that you did to make that happen.

"In doing that you reached out to the unionist community in a way some of them were reluctant to reach out to you.

"Without knowing the detail of how the republican movement moved to that point, I and my colleagues believed that you were indispensable."

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