Allister: He was someone of giant intellectual proportions

TUV leader Jim Allister told the Assembly yesterday that while unionists like Lord Trimble believed the Belfast Agreement was a settlement, for republicans it was only a process.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 7:17 am

In his tribute to the former first minister, Mr Allister pointed that he had known Lord Trimble almost all of his adult life including the time when the late UUP leader was his lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

On the agreement that Lord Trimble played a central part in securing in 1998, Mr Allister said: “Of course, David Trimble’s name is synonymous with the Belfast Agreement, and there I come to the territory where I disagreed with David Trimble.

“To me and some other unionists, the Belfast Agreement was built on a mass injustice of the release of hundreds of terrorists of all shades onto our streets, as a precursor to terrorists in government. That was all part of a structure that proved to be failing and dysfunctional ever since.

Jim Allister signs the Book of Condolence at the Great Hall, Stormont, Northern Ireland on Tuesday

“One of the reasons why it is failing and dysfunctional is that, while David, perhaps, and certainly, to the unionists who voted for it, the Belfast Agreement was meant to be a settlement, it was to republicans and nationalists only ever a process, in which the insatiable had to be fed ever-constant concessions, thus creating the very instability from which it continues to suffer.”

Despite their differences over the Belfast Agreement, Mr Allister also spoke fondly of his former law lecturer and his wife Lady Daphne.

“I have known David Trimble for most of my adult life. When I was a student in the law faculty at Queen’s University, David was one of my lecturers. You did not have to sit very long in a David Trimble lecture or tutorial to recognise that you were in the presence of a supreme academic and someone of giant intellectual proportions.

“David manfully did his best to teach me two of his driest subjects in the legal curriculum: land law and equity. His lack of success in attaining enthusiasm on my part for those subjects was a failure not on his part but on mine.”

He recalled how he met Lady Daphne in their student days and how she became the rock in Lord Trimble’s life: “However, there was a fellow student in respect of whom David engendered great enthusiasm in a different and far more lasting sphere. Of course, my fellow student Daphne Orr went on to become Mrs Daphne Trimble.

“What a rock Daphne has been for David through the years. It was clear to all that, during his most turbulent political years, Daphne was indeed that rock. Of course, in more recent times of failing health, she was a tower of strength for him. And so our thoughts today, first and foremost, are with Lady Daphne and their four children and wider family.

“It does not matter how big a name one might have or how huge a household name someone might be; it is in the bosom of their family that they are loved and missed the most.”