John Hume


Life
1937- ; b. 18 Jan.; ed. Rosemount Primary School, Derry, and St. Columb’s, benefitting from 1944 Education Act; entered Maynooth but abandoned vocation; BA hons, in French and Mod. History; fnd. Derrry Credit Union, 1960s; completed MA thesis on development of Derry, 1964; inveighed against ‘exhausted fatalism’ of nationalists living in Northern Ireland, in Irish Times article, 1964; co-fnd. Derry Housing Association; instrumental in forming Civil Rights Assocation which first marched from Coalisland to Dungannon, 24 Aug. 1968; wrested the SDLP leadership from Gerry Fitt; subject of the first RTE broadcast in colour, John Hume’s Derry (19690
 
represented SDLP at New Ireland Forum, 1983-84 (‘the North ruling itself within a federal Ireland’); risked his political base for peace by entering talks with Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin, in 1988, ultimately leading to the Downing Street Declaration of 1994 (UK ‘has no selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland’), and later to the IRA ceasefire, Aug. 1994; undecided on presenting himself as candidate for Irish presidency, Summer 1997; centrally participated in Good Friday Accord, 1994;
 
awarded Nobel Prize with David Trimble, Oct. 1998; the inaugural John Hume lecture was given by Hume himself at the Patrick MacGill Summer School, 12th Aug. 2001; appt. to Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies at the Magee Campus of Univ. of Ulster, 2002; participated with Paul Brady, PHil Coulter and others in TV programme about St. Colums’, RTÉ2 (Feb. 2010); honoured by Bill Clinton in Derry visit to UU Magee of 5 March 2014. FDA

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Works
  • Personal View: A Vision of Ireland within Europe, with foreword by Sen. Edward Kennedy (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1996), 192pp.
  • Personal Views: Politics, Peace and Reconciliation in Ireland (Ireland: Town House; London: Robert Rinehart 1997), 224pp.
  • Derry Beyond the Walls: Social and Economic Aspects of the Growth of Derry, 1825-1850 (Ulster Hist. Foundation 2003), 173pp.

See also The New Ireland Report (1984).

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Criticism
  • Barry White, John Hume: Statesman of the Troubles (1983);
  • Paul Routledge, John Hume: A Biography (London: HarperCollins 1997), 316pp.;
  • George Drower, John Hume: Peacemaker (London:L Gollancz [1996]), 223pp.;
  • Gerard Murray, John Hume and the SDLP: Impact and Survival in Northern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1998), 342pp.;
  • P. J. McLoughlin, John Hume and the Revision of Irish Nationalism (Manchester UP 2010), 304pp.

See also Edna Longley, ‘John Hume and An Island Once Again’ [sect. of ‘From Cathleen to Anorexia’], in The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994), pp.184-86

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Commentary
Richard Kearney cites Hume as saying at the New Ireland Forum - contrary to Charles Haughey - that the Forum was ‘not a nationalist revival mission’ and that a reason for failure to resolve the national question might be the inability to place the creation of a New Ireland ‘above some of our most cherished assumptions’. (Myth and Motherland, Field Day Pamphlet No. 4, Derry 1984, ftn 10, p.13.)

See also Tim Pat Coogan ‘A British View of John Hume’, review of George Drower, John Hume: Peacemaker, in The Irish Times (9 May 1995).

Edna Longley, ‘From Cathleen to Anorexia’, in The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994, pp.173-95, espec. ‘John Hume and An Island Once Again’ [sect.], pp.184-86: ‘Unionists are unlikely to swallow his island-Nationialism unless Nationalisms equally swallow their archipelagic-Britishness’ (p.186).

Andrew Pollack, ‘Prophet under Pressure’ in The Irish Times (2 Oct. 1993), examines why ‘John Hume may be one of the most admired politicians of her generation’. [Weekend, p.1.]

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Basil McIvor, Hope Deferred: Experiences of an Irish Unionist (Belfast: Blackstaff 1998): ‘To John Hume, the most significant and visionary nationalist politician of his generation, a united Ireland is a romantic eternal absolute. His reasoning is deductive. First set out your goal and from that standpoint direct [103] all arguments towards achieving it. He does not believe in starting with the established facts and realities and then working slowly upwards towards the desired result. At that time he never understood the genuine historic fears and sensitivities of the unionists, however much these understandably irritated him. Nor did he want to. He finds it hard to empathise with unionists. In unionist eyes he wore the nationalist mantle of odium as did Daniel O'Connell [...] His part in the Sunningdale Agreement spelt disaster for the survival of powersharing. To me he was the man who, at Sunningdale, blew out the light at the end of the tunnel. His insistence on the promise of a Council of Ireland, which he must surely have anticipated would arouse fierce opposition amongst the majority of Protestants, wrecked the prospects of an otherwise excellent and hopeful powersharing arrangement. [...; &c.; see longer extract.]

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UU Line-up: The impressive line up of major world figures to visit the Magee campus in recent years includes Michel Rocard, Bill Clinton, Romano Prodi, Kofi Annan, Garret Fitzgerald, Pat Cox, Bertie Ahern, Mary McAleese. Professor Barnett said: ‘Why did they come? One reason, the respect and affection they have for John.’ Further, ‘When John was growing up in Derry, his father used to say to him, “stick to the books, it's the only way forward.”. It is easy for us in 2007 to forget how so many earlier generations had their hopes and talents frustrated by the lack of access to education. John has never forgotten it.’ (Inside [UU Bulletin], March 2007, p.3.)

UU Visit: The University of Ulster hosts a visit by US President Bill Clinton to Derry-Londonderry on March 5, 2014, including a public lecture by Clinton addresses in the Guildhall Square honouring John Hume's contribution to peace in Northern Ireland while lanching launch Peacemaking in The Twenty-First Century, being a volume of lectures in the Tip O’Neill Peace Lecture series given at Magee, and supported by The Ireland Funds. The volume has been edited by Hume, Tom [T.G.] Fraser and Leonie Murray. The volume includes lectures by Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton. and Kofi Annan (UN Sec-Gen.). (See Univesity of Ulster News, 25 Feb. 2014 - online.)

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