Belfast Telegraph

Dublin council to debate naming street after SDLP's John Hume

By Leona O'Neill

A proposal to name a Georgian street in Dublin after former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate John Hume is before the city's council.

Robert Baker proposed the name change on Monday in a letter to the council.

He owns a business on what is already called Hume Street in the city and says he can see no more fitting tribute to someone he describes as "one of the greatest political leaders of our time".

The Dublin city centre street, just off St Stephen's Green, was once residential but is now primarily a business district lined with Georgian properties.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Baker, CEO of Security and Networks, said the proposal, if approved, would merge the present with the past.

"I'm all in favour of preserving the past and I thought this was a good opportunity to both honour a great Irish man, as I see John Hume, and also to preserve the name of the street, which is Hume Street, named after Gustavus Hume, who developed the street in 1790," he said.

"I thought that would be a very fitting tribute to a modern Irishman while still honouring our past."

Eighty-year-old Mr Hume was a founding member and leader of the SDLP, an MP and MEP. He played a crucial role in Northern Ireland's peace process and was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize alongside the UUP's David Trimble.

Mr Baker has never met Mr Hume, but he hopes the city council will make his dream a reality.

"Obviously, in the south during the Troubles John Hume stood out," he said.

"He was a man who stood for peace always, possibly against adversaries on both sides. People of my generation would see John Hume as an iconic figure, in the mould of Gandhi almost.

"I think if we had to honour anyone with a street name in Dublin city centre, it should be him.

"I have made the proposal to city council. I think the fact that we are not losing a name and are simply adding to it kind of makes it sweet. We are preserving both traditions. I can't imagine too many objections."

The SDLP's Derry and Strabane Deputy Mayor John Boyle said the naming of the street would be a fitting tribute to such a "political giant".

"There has been a long-standing tradition in Dublin of naming streets after political activists and politicians over many generations," he added.

"I'm thinking in particular of Parnell Square, Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, and I think John Hume fits in well with those political giants in Irish history."

Dublin City Council is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the proposal.

Belfast Telegraph

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