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World N.Ireland bids farewell to peacemaker Trimble at Lisburn funeral

06:40  01 august  2022
06:40  01 august  2022 Source:   afp.com

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A funeral service for David Trimble, the Nobel peace prize-winning former first minister of Northern Ireland whose statecraft helped end decades of conflict, will be held Monday in his hometown of Lisburn.

Tributes have poured in from around the world and across Northern Ireland's political divide for Trimble © JAY DIRECTO Tributes have poured in from around the world and across Northern Ireland's political divide for Trimble

Tributes have poured in from around the world and across Northern Ireland's political divide for Trimble, who worked tirelessly to bridge its sectarian divides, following his death last Monday aged 77.

The service, which will be attended by friends, family and political figures, will be held at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, southwest of Belfast, at 1130 GMT.

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A pro-UK unionist politician, Trimble's death following a short illness marked the passing of one of the last in a generation of Northern Irish leaders who delivered the Good Friday Agreement.

The 1998 accords, also referred to as the Belfast Agreement, largely ended the period known as "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland -- three decades of sectarian violence in the province which claimed 3,500 lives.

In the same year as the agreements were signed, Trimble was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, alongside pro-Ireland nationalist leader John Hume.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair and former US president Bill Clinton, who worked with Trimble to midwife peace in Northern Ireland, lauded the unionist leader's political courage following news of his death.

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Former Irish premier Bertie Ahern, who also helped deliver the landmark deal, said Trimble's stance at the time made peace possible.

Announcing Trimble's death, his family said the former first minister had "passed away peacefully".

Books of condolence have since opened across Northern Ireland.

At the seat of the province's power-sharing government, currently engulfed in a protracted political crisis following elections in May, a wreath of flowers was laid in front of a portrait of Trimble.

Following the elections three months ago, which swept nationalists to victory for the first time in the province's history, the assembly has been left paralysed amid a boycott by the dominant pro-UK force, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Trimble's death following a short illness marked the passing of one of the last in a generation of Northern Irish leaders © GERRY PENNY Trimble's death following a short illness marked the passing of one of the last in a generation of Northern Irish leaders

The party has refused to join a power-sharing government until London rips up a post-Brexit trading pact for Northern Ireland with the European Union.

An attempt to restart the Stormont regional assembly last Tuesday following Trimble's death was postponed out of respect.

Assembly members are to offer formal condolences to the former first minister in a special sitting Tuesday.

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