SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole has said that the legacy of former First Minister and UUP Leader David Trimble is assured.
He was speaking ahead of Mr Trimble’s funeral on Monday.
Mr O’Toole said Mr Trimble would be remembered for his vision and statesmanship in helping secure the Good Friday Agreement and delivering a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“The esteem in which David Trimble is held has been clear since his passing on Monday. World leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Taoisigh have all come forward to pay tribute to the man and the role he played in bringing peace. Across these islands he has been remembered as a brave man who took huge personal and political risks to end decades of violence. The statesmanship and courage he displayed in leading unionism to the Good Friday Agreement will secure his place in both Irish and British history.
“For anyone old enough to remember the worst days of the Troubles, David Trimble’s contribution is clear. He was a crucial part of bringing to an end the violence and destruction that had marked this place for nearly three decades. His vision in negotiating a historic compromise, fraught with political risk and difficulties, was immense. While we still face many challenges, without the efforts of David Trimble, John Hume and many others, more lives would have been lost and more futures condemned to the misery of violent conflict.
“David Trimble leaves behind a huge personal and political legacy. He was a man with vision and courage, a leader who was willing to do what was right, rather than what was easy for the betterment of everyone here. Many of his fiercest critics have been forced to accept the enormity of his contribution and that the path he travelled was the right one.
“His place in history as a peacemaker is secured, his immense contribution will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with the Trimble family, his UUP colleagues and all who knew him ahead of the funeral tomorrow. I hope that the outpouring of tributes has brought comfort to them following his passing.”