Trade Union Movement mourns and pays tribute to John Hume

3 Aug 2020

John Hume by Davidson

(Image used with thanks to Colin Davidson) 

Speaking after the death of John Hume, ICTU General Secretary Patricia King said:

“John Hume was a builder and a teacher, a founder and an advocate, a champion for peace and social justice at a time when both were under constant attack from all sides. There was a stubborn consistency to his belief in a peace which threatened nobody, and that held him through real threats from those who profited from division.

“John founded Derry’s credit union movement and campaigned for fair work, housing justice and political rights for everyone. His countyland was Derry and his people Derry’s poor, and he represented all in the forums of Westminster, Brussels and Washington, and especially in Dublin where he challenged widely-held simplistic notions about Northern Ireland, and the need for unionism to be accommodated by nationalists, and not only vice-versa.

“Peace, he liked to quote, comes dropping slow. It was a life’s work, and a good life we should celebrate.”

Speaking on behalf of trade unionists in Northern Ireland, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy added:

“John Hume was genuinely a giant political figure and a true peacemaker. He took huge personal risks and sacrifices to bring about the peace we have and often fail to maintain properly. What we take for granted about our daily lives now was unthinkable in the dark years of violence and sectarian enmity, and John Hume was the torchbearer of that ideal of shared space and mutual respect and co-operation.

“John was a friend to all working people and their communities. His 2003 tribute to my predecessor Terry Carlin could also apply to himself: "He was dedicated to improving the living and working standards of workers and the development of industry across Northern Ireland."

“John supported as a legislator in many parliaments the trade union movement’s “objectives and its work and in particular in working for all sections of our community."

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, John wished “to see an Ireland of partnership where we wage war on want and poverty, where we reach out to the marginalised and dispossessed, where we build together a future that can be as great as our dreams allow.”

“It is more important than ever that the younger generations get to appreciate his immense contribution to peace, justice and simple decency on this island.

“We sincerely offer our condolences to his wife Pat and his extended family and many friends around the world.”