‘Trailblazers, pivotal to peace and widely revered’, were just some of the tributes paid to John and Pat Hume by elected members sitting on the Business and Culture Committee as they approved plans and funding to display John Hume’s Peace Prizes in the Guildhall.
Mr Hume’s family announced earlier this year that the high profile prizes he received over his lifetime were to be loaned to the city for permanent display.
Mr Hume is the only person in the world to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1998), the Martin Luther King Jr Non-Violent Award (1999) and the International Gandhi Peace Prize (2001).
John’s wife Pat led the announcement and following her recent passing it was the continued wish of the Hume family and Foundation that they be loaned to and displayed in the city for as many people as possible to view them.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack proposed the recommendation.
Speaking of how John and Pat ‘spent their whole lives working for and giving selflessly not only to the people of this city but to the whole island of Ireland’, Colr. Cusack said: “We all know that the Hume name is synonymous with civil rights, human rights and especially with peace. These incredible honours bestowed on John are symbols of the Hume impact globally so it is no surprise their generosity lives on even after their sad passing.
“Offering these prizes to be enjoyed and shared by the people of Derry and beyond is testimony to this.
“I don’t need to tell this committee or council or indeed this country, how important and pivotal John and Pat Hume were to peace here in this city and throughout this island and how loved they were by the people of this city in particular.
“I would expect, and I believe the people of this city would expect, that in the not too distant future, we as a council work towards delivering permanent and fitting tribute or tributes to John and Pat worthy and reflective of what they have done for us.
“The enormity of what they have achieved for this part of the country and also the legacy they have created and left behind which has impacted our generation but also our future generations. They paved the way, they were the trailblazers.”
Party colleague Councillor Rory Farrell described it as a ‘fantastic gift from the Hume family to the people of this city’.
He added: “John and Pat are sadly no longer with us, but their legacy lives. Their legacy is peace, it’s peaceful change. It’s the power of dialogue over violence. And John in particular was widely recognised and revered for his contribution to peace on this island.
“He’s the only person in history to be awarded the three big peace prizes. The Nobel Peace Prize, the Martin Luther King Non-Violent Award and the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Humes have loaned those three prestigious awards to the people of this city.
“It’s right and proper that those awards are displayed in the Guildhall so that locals and visitors alike can appreciate and understand the magnitude of John and Pat’s achievements.”
Calling for similar recognition from council for Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin Councillor and Deputy Mayor Christopher Jackson said: “John and Pat Hume were world renowned. They were world renowned in their leadership and the roles that they made in terms of peace making. They made an incredible contribution to this city and district.
“I think it is only right we, as a council, recognise these contributions and it’s great we have this opportunity through the generosity of the Hume family to be able to do so.
“We as a city have been blessed with political giants, people who went above and beyond to bring peace to this part of the world. John and Pat Hume were certainly amongst these giants and their legacy lives on through the peace that we all benefit from today.
“We as a party would be keen to see council work with the Martin McGuinness Foundation to explore similar recognition to another internationally renowned peace maker but rather than conflict with the recognition of these two proud sons of this city, we fully support the recommendations.”