Lord Trimble’s legacy is peace in Northern Ireland – Beattie

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Lord Trimble’s legacy is peace in Northern Ireland, his current successor as Ulster Unionist Party leader has said.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish president Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheal Martin gathered for the Belfast Agreement architect’s funeral, Doug Beattie described a man of vision and of courage.

Mr Beattie also urged that Lord Trimble’s final public comments, expressing his concerns at the Northern Ireland Protocol, are listened to and addressed.

He described the funeral at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church as having been a moving ceremony for Lord Trimble’s family to say goodbye to him.

He said Lord Trimble had been a man who took decisions when they were difficult to take, adding: “people are alive today because of them.”

“It is a shame at times that we talk about people like this in death, when it would be so much nicer if we were able to talk about this vision that he had in life,” he said.

“Today there was a moving ceremony for the family to say goodbye because, of all else, David Trimble was a husband, a father, a grandfather and a brother, and we have to remember that human side of him and that frailty in a man that we all have in ourselves.

“The place will be a lesser place for David’s passing.”

David Trimble funeral
Lady Daphne Trimble (left) walks behind the hearse carrying the coffin (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Beattie added that while he is very proud to be the Ulster Unionist Party leader and walk in Lord Trimble’s footsteps, he personally “could never emulate what he achieved”.

“His legacy is easy to quantify, it is peace in Northern Ireland, it is a less divided, less sectarian society,” he said.

“We are sorry for his loss but we will remember his legacy in the many months and years to come.”

Mr Beattie said despite his illness and frailty towards the end of his life, he still had “fire in his eyes and in his belly for politics”.

“He was frail, we know he was frail, we could see he was frail but he was still working hard on the political front,” he said, urging that Lord Trimble’s concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol are addressed.

“It was the protocol that he took exception to, and people need to listen to him and come up with a solution to deal with the problems that he was talking about, and that is the protocol.

“It was important to him, he will see it as unfinished business but he was right in what he was saying, and people need to stop, reflect and listen, and understand that the protocol does damage and undermine the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

“David saw that as one of the architects of it and it is important that we listen to the words that he was saying before his passing in regards to it.”

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