Former SDLP leader declines offer of freedom of Belfast

Former SDLP leader John Hume
Former SDLP leader John Hume

Responding to calls to award founding SDLP member John Hume the freedom of Belfast, his wife has said he “will have to respectfully decline” the offer.

The SDLP group at Belfast City Council had put forward a motion for Bill Clinton and former US Senator George Mitchell to receive the freedom of the city in recognition of their role in the peace process.

Several suggested the party’s own former leader and David Trimble, with whom he was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, would be more worthy recipients of freedom of Belfast.

John Hume’s wife Pat said: “On behalf of John and I, I would like to thank all who have made this kind offer in relation to the freedom of Belfast City.

“However, on this occasion John will have to respectfully decline. I have conveyed this to Belfast City Councillors through our colleagues in the SDLP.”

John Hume has previously been awarded the freedom of other cities including Londonderry and Cork.