August turnout for David Trimble is a measure of the esteem for him

News Letter editorial on Tuesday August 2 2022:

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

It underlines the scale of Lord (David) Trimble’s legacy that so many of the powerful from London and Dublin would fly to Northern Ireland on the first day of August to honour his memory.

This is after all normally the month of Parliamentary shutdowns and of prime ministers and law makers heading off to sunnier climes than our own.

But the presence of Boris Johnson, the Taoiseach Micheal Martin and former Irish premier (and genuine friend of the Trimble family) Bertie Ahern, amidst an impressive crowd of local and national politicians packed inside Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lambeg yesterday, is a measure of the esteem the former Ulster Unionist leader and first minister was held in.

His successor Doug Beattie justifiably raised the one issue that frustrated Lord Trimble to the end of his days, the Northern Ireland Protocol and its assault on the consent principle that he managed to get engraved into the heart of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

The current UUP leader described necessary changes to the protocol as “unfinished business” for Lord Trimble.

If his fellow peers really want to respect his legacy they could do so by refusing to tamper, dilute or ditch legislation coming soon to the upper house, which will override aspects of the protocol, that the Nobel laureate believed to be Union-threatening.

Back the bill and do the will of your fellow history-making peer.

Mr Beattie reminded us that yesterday’s moving ceremony in the church where the Trimbles have worshipped for more than four decades had at its centre a grieving widow, her four children and grand-children.

Their humble, quiet dignity in grief was a touching send-off for someone they dearly loved, and of whom everyone in this country owes so much to for the last 24 years of relative peace and stability.