Hume awarded honorary degree by the NUI
THE SDLP leader, Mr John Hume, "one of the most remarkable people in public life in the world", yesterday received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the National University of Ireland in a ceremony at University College, Galway.
UCG's president, Dr Colm hEocha, commended Mr Home for his outstanding tenacity, intelligence and courage. He wished his remarks to be put in the context of the comment in The Irish Times that "Jack Charlton has brought more excitement and joy and national self esteem to this country over the past decade than any single Irishman, with the arguable exception of John Hume". Dr O hEocha quoted from The Anglo Irish Accord by John Hewitt, one of the few poems written in response to an international agreement:
"This land we stand on holds a history so complicated, gashed with violence, split by belief by blatant pag-
eantry . . ."
The poem had listed problems which John Hume had inherited, he said, and "which he has tried so fearlessly and selflessly to solve". He recalled that when Mr Hume studied history at Maynooth, his tutor, Tomas O Fiaich, later cardinal, reckoned that he was the brightest student he had ever taught. Mr Home accepted the doctorate and thanked both the NUI and UCG for the honour.
Others who received honorary degrees included Dr Patricia Donlon, director of the National Library of Ireland; Prof Charles Thomas of Exeter University, archaeologist and author; and Mr Stiofain O hAnnrachain, honorary editor of An Clochomhar, the Irish language publishing co operative, which has published more than 200 books and was a source of encouragement for writers such as Mairtin O Direain and Pearse Hutchinson.