John Hume was one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process. His dedication to peace and democracy and his hard work in the cause of Northern Ireland has wrought a complete change in the recent history of Ireland. Hume announced his retirement from politics in 2004.
John Hume was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1939. He was educated at St Columb’s College Derry before entering St Patricks College Maynooth to study for the priesthood. He later decided not to continue with his clerical studies. He remained at Maynooth where he studied French and History and was awarded a BA degree in 1958. He was awarded a Master’s degree in 1964 after which he returned to Derry where he taught in a secondary school.
Whilst working as a teacher he became a founding member of the Credit Union in Derry city. The credit union movement was expanding rapidly in Ireland at that time. At the age of 27, in 1964, Hume became the youngest ever President of the Irish League of Credit Unions. He continued his involvement with the credit union movement and on September 11th 2004 he officially opened the new headquarters of Carlow District Credit Union at Askea in Carlow town.
A founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) John Hume served as leader of that party from 1979 to 2001. He served as an MP for Foyle in the British House of Commons for 23 years as an MEP for Northern Ireland in the European Parliament for 25 years. Following the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont in Belfast, Hume served as an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for 2 years. His work as one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process led the various terror groups to eventually declare a ceasefire. This in turn gave rise to the Good Friday agreement being brokered on April 12th 1998.
John Hume, along with David Trimble, was a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. He was also awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. Pope Benedict XVI made John Hume a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great (KCSG) in 2012. In a public poll carried out by RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) in 2010 John Hume was named ‘Ireland’s Greatest’.
John Hume KCSG was born in the city of Derry in Northern Ireland in the year 1937 On This Day.