‘Ireland’s Greatest’ John Hume: From teacher to Nobel Peace Prize winner

January 18 1937: John Hume is born in Londonderry. He is educated at St Columb’s College and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, before going on to become a teacher.

1968: Hume emerges as one of the leading members of the civil rights movement as the Derry Citizens’ Action Committee (DCAC) stage a number of marches, advocating strictly peaceful demonstrations.

1969: Hume’s political career begins when he is elected at the age of 32 as an independent nationalist MP at Stormont.

August 1970: Hume becomes a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

1979: Hume becomes leader of the SDLP.

1980s: Hume becomes directly involved in secret talks between the UK government and Sinn Fein.

John Hume with David Trimble
John Hume with David Trimble (PA)

June 10 1983: Hume is elected to Westminster for the new Foyle constituency.

November 15 1985: The Anglo-Irish Agreement is signed.

1988: Hume begins a series of contacts with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, which was to prove crucial in developing the peace process.

1997: The IRA announced the renewal of its 1994 ceasefire. Multi-party talks begin at which Hume and the SDLP play a significant role as the then second biggest party behind the UUP.

1998: Parties sign the Good Friday Agreement and a powersharing government is formed at Stormont. Hume wins the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with UUP leader David Trimble.

2004: Hume retires from politics due to ill-health.

2010: Hume is voted as “Ireland’s Greatest” in a public poll by RTE.

2012: Pope Benedict XVI names him a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St Gregory the Great.

2018: Hume is too ill to attend a ceremony at Queen’s University in Belfast to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

2020:
He dies aged 83.

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