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Lord Alderdice: ‘No one showed more political courage than David Trimble’


From left: David Trimble, John Alderdice and Seamus Mallon

From left: David Trimble, John Alderdice and Seamus Mallon

From left: David Trimble, John Alderdice and Seamus Mallon

One of the few surviving party leaders who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement has said that “no one demonstrated political courage more than David Trimble”.

Lord Alderdice, who in 1998 was the Alliance leader and would go on to become the new Assembly’s first speaker, said that he was “deeply saddened” by Lord Trimble’s passing.

He said: “We worked together in the talks process, and then when the new Northern Ireland Assembly was formed and he was First Minister and I was the Speaker we worked together with the Deputy First Minister, Seamus Mallon, to bed down the new Good Friday Agreement institutions.

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“Latterly of course, David and I were colleagues in the House of Lords.

“Over the years I often saw him face testing times and profound challenges, and it was always with intelligence, integrity and great courage.”

The Liberal Democrat peer added: “Political courage is not to be found in standing firm against your political opponents, but rather in a determined commitment to what you believe to be right and good even in the face of deep disagreement with those in your own community.

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“He and I were leaders of different political communities and of course we often disagreed, but I have to say that no-one demonstrated political courage more than David Trimble.

“His political trajectory was a remarkable one from young firebrand to peacemaker and then elder statesman.

"He was an emotional man and few experiences had a deeper effect on him than the murder in 1983 of Edgar Graham, his close university and political friend and colleague, and a school-friend of my own.

“Present and future generations in Ireland will continue to owe David Trimble much more than they will ever know, and history will judge him kindly.”

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