‘A man of courage and vision’

Tributes have flooded in following the death on Monday (July 25) of former First Minister and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble.

Lord Trimble, who lived in Lisburn with his wife Daphne, passed away following a short illness,

Known as one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, Lord Trimble, who represented Upper Bann during his years as an MP and MLA, is survived by his children Richard, Victoria, Nicholas, and Sarah,

Nicholas is a Lisburn and Castlereagh City Councillor and former Mayor of the city.

David Trimble pictured with his copy of the Agreement at a press conference in the Europa Hotel in Belfast in 1998. Picture: Pacemaker

The current UUP Leader and Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie led the tributes to his predecessor, saying: “[The] news will cause deep sadness throughout Northern Ireland and much further afield.

“David Trimble was a man of courage and vision. He chose to grasp the opportunity for peace when it presented itself and sought to end the decades of violence that blighted his beloved Northern Ireland.

“He will forever be associated with the leadership he demonstrated in the negotiations that led up to the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

“The bravery and courage he demonstrated whilst battling his recent illness was typical of the qualities he showed in his political career, at Stormont and at Westminster.

“He will be remembered as a First Minister, as a Peer of the Realm and as a Nobel Prize Winner. He will also be remembered as a great Unionist.

“On behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party, and with a very heavy heart, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Lady Trimble and his children, Richard, Victoria, Sarah and Nicholas.”

Leader of the DUP and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson paid tribute to the politician, saying: “I am deeply saddened to learn of David’s passing and my thoughts are foremost with Daphne and their children at this painful time of loss.

“He made a huge contribution to Northern Ireland, and to political life in the United Kingdom.

“Throughout some of the most difficult years of the Troubles, David was a committed and passionate advocate for the Union, at a time when doing so placed a considerable threat to his safety.

“Whilst our political paths parted within the Ulster Unionist Party, there can be no doubting his bravery and determination in leadership at that time.

“He was a committed and passionate unionist who always wanted the best for Northern Ireland.

“Right until recent days David continued to use his political skill and intellect, most recently in support of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and in opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“As a Nobel laureate, his words carried significant weight and he helped raise awareness of the threat the protocol posed to Northern Ireland, particularly amongst the wider UK audience.

“He leaves a huge and lasting legacy to Northern Ireland. He can undoubtedly be said to have shaped history in our country.”

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City, Councillor Scott Carson, conveyed his deepest sympathies to the Trimble family. “We join with the people of Northern Ireland and beyond to mourn the loss of Lord Trimble,” he said.

“He will be remembered as an important political leader, for his strength of character, resilience and determination as First Minister during some very challenging times in Northern Ireland’s history.

“As Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey, he continued to champion Northern Ireland in Westminster as a Member of the House of Lords. His significant contributions to politics are evident not only in Northern Ireland but across the UK.

“My thoughts and prayers are with our friend and colleague, Cllr Hon. Nicholas Trimble, his mother Lady Trimble and their wider family circle at this very sad time.”

The Ulster Unionist Party Group on Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has paid tribute to Lord Trimble following the news of his passing.

Councillor Hazel Legge, the Party’s Whip on the Council Group, said: “The Ulster Unionist Party Group on Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council sends its heartfelt condolences to our colleague Cllr Nicholas Trimble, as well as Lady Daphne and the entire family circle.

“We pay tribute to Lord Trimble and the enormous contribution he made to seeking a political solution to the decades of violence that blighted Northern Ireland. It was his actions and example that prompted so many to become involved in the Ulster Unionist Party and elected politics, not least on our own Council.

“Many of us had the privilege of working with and for David Trimble. His intellect and his passion for Northern Ireland and all who call it home were evident in the courageous actions he took on behalf of everyone, with great political and personal cost. He had a unique ability to see the bigger picture for everyone.

“On a personal note, I first met Lord Trimble when I began working for the Party in 1994 and he was then a Party Officer. Working in Party HQ I was always impressed by his determination to move forward - not at any cost, but in the right way. His legacy will live on and we are better as a country and a Party for his Leadership.”

The council has opened a book of condolence, which can be signed online at https://www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/book-of-condolence-for-lord-trimble