David Trimble: Former Northern Ireland first minister dies

One of the principal architects of the Belfast Agreement ending decades of conflict in Northern Ireland has died at the age of 77.

Lord David Trimble, who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize along with SDLP leader John Hume, died on Monday, July 25 following an illness.

The Co Down man distinguished himself in an academic career in the law faculty at the Queen’s University Belfast before moving into politics.

In a statement on behalf of the Trimble family, the Ulster Unionist Party said: “It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness.”

Lord David Trimble

He initially became involved in the unionist offshoot organisation Vanguard in the early 1970s and while he was best known for his involvement with the Belfast Agreement, in his younger days he had opposed an earlier attempt, the Sunningdale Agreement.

He went on to join the then dominant Ulster Unionist Party in 1978.

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It was at the university in 1983 that he heard the IRA’s gunshots which killed his fellow law professor and UUP colleague Edgar Graham and later identified the body.

He left academia for politics full time when he was elected as MP for Upper Bann following a by election in 1990 after the death of the incumbent Harold McCusker.

Lord Trimble rose to prominence partly due to the Drumcree dispute as nationalist residents opposed the procession of an orange parade along the Garvaghy Road.

He led the parade along the road in 1995, famously joining hands with Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley.