Ireland

Funeral of John Hume to take place in Derry today

Hundreds of people lined route of cortege in Donegal and Derry last night to pay respects

The remains of John Hume in St Eugene’s Cathedral on August 4th, 2020 in Derry, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Stephen Latimer - Pool/Getty Images

The remains of John Hume in St Eugene’s Cathedral on August 4th, 2020 in Derry, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Stephen Latimer - Pool/Getty Images

The funeral of Nobel Laureate and former SDLP leader John Hume will take place in Derry later today.

His remains were brought from his home near Moville, Co Donegal, to St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry City last night ahead the funeral Mass, which will take place at 11.30am.

Hundreds of people lined the route of the cortege in Donegal and Derry to pay their respects, despite a request from the Hume family to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many more lit candles for peace in his memory.

Mr Hume’s death was announced on Monday after a long illness. He was 83, and had been suffering from dementia.

He has been hailed around the world as a peacemaker who was one of the architects of the North’s peace process and the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble for his role in ending the violence of the Troubles.

In 2010 he was voted “Ireland’s Greatest” in an RTÉ poll.

It is understood a John and Pat Hume Foundation is to be set up in Mr Hume’s memory to take forward his work.

The current SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood said that under normal circumstances Mr Hume’s funeral would have been “one of the largest ever seen in Ireland”.

Due to coronavirus restrictions Mr Hume’s funeral will be restricted to about 120 people, mainly friends and family. President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, the North’s First and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, and the North’s Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, are expected to attend.

Mr Eastwood said there was a “real sadness” in Mr Hume’s home city of Derry ahead of the funeral on Wednesday morning, but also pride. “People are full of pride for everything he achieved for us,” he said.

“As far back as 1964, in The Irish Times, John was outlining the pathway that led ultimately to the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement and ended the Anglo-Irish conflict after 800 years.

“Amid all the talk of legacy, the most important thing is that it doesn’t stop. We have a lot of work to do to bring people together on this island, and we have to finish the job.”

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