|Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party|
6 May 1979 – 6 November 2001
|Preceded by||Gerry Fitt|
|Succeeded by||Mark Durkan|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly
25 June 1998 – 1 December 2000
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Annie Courtney|
|Member of Parliament
10 June 1983 – 11 April 2005
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Mark Durkan|
|Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
10 June 1979 – 13 June 2004
|Preceded by||New creation|
|Succeeded by||Bairbre de Brún|
|Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
24 February 1969 – 30 March 1972
|Preceded by||Eddie McAteer|
|Succeeded by||Parliament abolished|
18 January 1937 |
Derry, Northern Ireland
|Alma mater||St Columb's College
St Patrick's College, Maynooth
John Hume, KCSG (born 18 January 1937) is an Irish former politician from Derry, Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, with David Trimble.
He was the second leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), a position he held from 1979 until 2001. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament and a Member of the UK Parliament, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
He is regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland and one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process. He is also a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award, the only recipient of the three major peace awards. In 2010 he was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTÉ to find the greatest person in Ireland's history. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI made Hume a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great.
John Hume was born in Derry with an Irish Catholic background. His great-grandfather was a Presbyterian immigrant from Scotland. Hume was a student at St. Columb's College and at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, the leading Catholic seminary in Ireland and a recognised college of the National University of Ireland, where he intended to study for the priesthood. Among his teachers was the future Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.
He did not complete his clerical studies, but did obtain an M.A degree from the college, and then returned home to his native city and became a teacher. He was a founding member of the Cr Union movement in the city, and was chair of the University for Derry Committee in 1965.
Hume became a leading figure in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s along with people such as Hugh Logue. Hume was prominent in the unsuccessful fight to have Northern Ireland's second university established in Derry in the mid-sixties. After this campaign, John Hume went on to be a prominent figure in the Derry Citizens' Action Committee. The DCAC was set up in the wake of 5 October march through Derry which had caused so much attention to be drawn towards the situation in Northern Ireland. The purpose of the DCAC was to make use of the publicity surrounding recent events to bring to light grievances in Derry that had been suppressed by the Unionist Government for years. The DCAC, unlike Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), however, was aimed specifically at a local campaign, improving the situation in Derry for all, and maintaining a peaceful stance. The committee also had a Stewards Association that was there to prevent any violence at marches or sit-downs.
Hume was a founder member of Derry Cr Union. At the age of 27 he became the youngest ever President of the Irish League of Cr Unions. He served as President from 1964 to 1968. He once said that "all the things I've been doing, it's the thing I'm proudest of, because no movement has done more good for the people of Ireland, north and south, than the cr union movement."
Hume became an Independent Nationalist member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1969 at the height of the civil rights campaign. He was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1973, and served as Minister of Commerce in the short-lived power-sharing government in 1974. He stood unsuccessfully for the Westminster Parliament at the Londonderry constituency in October 1974, and was elected for Foyle in 1983.
In October 1971 he joined four Westminster MPs in a 48-hour hunger strike to protest at the internment without trial of hundreds of suspected Irish republicans. State papers that have been released under the 30 year rule that an Irish diplomat 8 years later in 1979 believed John Hume supported the return of internment, however the SDLP have strenuously denied this.
In 1977, Hume challenged a regulation under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922 which allowed any soldier to disperse an assembly of three or more people. Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Lord Lowry held that the regulation was Ultra Vires under Section 4 Government of Ireland Act 1920 which forbade the Parliament of Northern Ireland to make laws in respect of the army.
A founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), he succeeded Gerry Fitt as its leader in 1979. He has also served as one of Northern Ireland's three Members of the European Parliament and has served on the faculty of Boston College, from which he received an honorary degree in 1995.
Hume was directly involved in 'secret talks' with the British government and Sinn Féin, in effort to bring Sinn Féin to the discussion table openly. The talks are speculated to have led directly to the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.
However the vast majority of unionists rejected the agreement and staged a massive and peaceful public rally in Belfast City Centre to demonstrate their distaste. Many republicans and nationalists rejected it also, as they had seen it as not going far enough. Hume, however, continued dialogue with both governments and Sinn Féin. The "Hume-Adams process" eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire which ultimately provided the relatively peaceful backdrop against which the Good Friday agreement was brokered.
Hume is cred with being the thinker behind many of the recent political developments in Northern Ireland, from the power-sharing Sunningdale Agreement to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Belfast Agreement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 alongside the then-leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble.
When David Trimble became First Minister it was expected that Hume would take the role of his deputy, being leader of the second largest party, the SDLP. Instead this role was handed to Seamus Mallon, also of the SDLP. Some political journalists cited a bad working relationship between Hume and Trimble despite collecting the Nobel prize with him.
On his retirement from the leadership of the SDLP in 2001 he was praised across the political divide, even by his longtime opponent, fellow MP and MEP, the Rev. Ian Paisley. Hume holds the Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies at the University of Ulster, currently funded by The Ireland Funds.
On 4 February 2004, Hume announced his complete retirement from politics, and shepherded Mark Durkan as his successor as SDLP leader. He did not contest the 2004 European election (when his seat was won by Bairbre de Brún of Sinn Féin) or the 2005 general election, in which Mark Durkan retained the Foyle constituency for the SDLP.
Hume and his wife, Pat, continue to be active in promoting European integration, issues around global poverty and the Cr Union movement. He is also a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations. In retirement, he continued to speak publicly, including a visit to Seton Hall University in New Jersey in 2005, the first Summer University of Democracy of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 10–14 July 2006), and St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, 18 July 2007. A recent building in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, was named after him. Hume holds the position of Club President at his local football team, Derry City F.C., of whom he has been a keen supporter all his life. He is a patron of the children's charity Plan Ireland.
On 22 October 2010 John Hume was announced as Ireland's greatest person. This was announced by Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show after a vote by RTÉ viewers. Hume was up against Michael Collins, Bono, James Connolly and Mary Robinson for the title.
Ireland is not a romantic dream; it is not a flag; it is 4.5 million people divided into two powerful traditions. The solution will be found not on the basis of victory for either, but on the basis of agreement and a partnership between both. The real division of Ireland is not a line drawn on the map but in the minds and hearts of its people. - John Hume
|last1=in Authors list (help)
|Parliament of Northern Ireland|
|Member of Parliament for Foyle
|Northern Ireland Assembly (1973)|
|New assembly||Assembly Member for Londonderry
|Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention|
|New convention||Member for Londonderry
|New constituency||MEP for Northern Ireland
Bairbre de Brún
|Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)|
|New assembly||MPA for Londonderry
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Foyle
|Northern Ireland Forum|
|New forum||Member for Foyle
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|New assembly||MLA for Foyle
|Party political offices|
|New political party||Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
|Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party