UK, Irish leaders bid farewell to Nobel laureate David Trimble

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The leaders of Britain and Ireland have joined mourners for the funeral of politician David Trimble, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin joined Trimble’s widow and four children for the service at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, southwest of Belfast this Monday.

Trimble died on 25 July at the age of 77 after a short illness.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins, senior British officials and politicians from both sides of Northern Ireland’s Catholic-Protestant divide also attended the funeral, including Trimble's one-time enemy, the former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

David Trimble, led the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005 and became one of the key architects of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement after he reversed his long-held opposition to negotiating with Sinn Féin because of it's links to the Irish Republican Army.

In 1998, Trimble shared the Nobel Peace Prize with moderate Irish nationalist leader John Hume for ending three decades of sectarian conflict in which more than 3,000 people died.

'History will be kind to David'

Trimble became Northern Ireland’s first minister in the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing government set up under the accord.

It was soon beleaguered by disagreements over disarming the IRA, and Trimble’s party was overtaken in public support by the more hardline Democratic Unionist Party.

He resigned as party leader and lost his seat in Britain’s Parliament in 2005 and spent the final decade and a half of his life as a member of Parliament’s unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords.

Rev. Charles McMullen said in a eulogy that Trimble’s actions had “saved many lives and allowed a generation to grow up in relative peace.”

“History will be exceedingly kind to David, even if life brought many unrelenting pressures and demands,” McMullen remarked, adding,“can we use this service today, in a fitting tribute to one of the great, to redouble our efforts on this island home of ours?"

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