How best to remember John Hume

 

Sir, – I write as a Derry native, my mother lived a few doors away from Sam and Annie Hume (John Hume’s parents); Pat Hume taught me in primary school; and I am a beneficiary of the New Ireland that John dreamt of and delivered.

In response to the letter from Chris Fitzpatrick (August 4th), I suggest a fund be established to erect a statue of John Hume on the south side of O’Connell Bridge, with John facing north to O’Connell, the Spire, Parnell, Derry and our unionist countrymen. It is the very least this nation can do. – Yours, etc,

Prof GAVIN WALKER,

Limerick.

A chara, – Reflecting on the peacemaking giant that was John Hume, we really need to commemorate him appropriately.

The main thoroughfares of our cities are mostly “spoken for” by others who may not have achieved quite as much.

Should we not rename Dublin Airport in his honour?

John Hume International Airport – commemorating his achievements for Derry, for Ireland and as a committed European on the world stage – seems an appropriate honour for this great man. – Is mise,

S Ó MURCHÚ,

Cluain Tarbh,

Baile Átha Cliath.

Sir, – Further to the worthy suggestions of C Fitzpatrick and DFM Duffy ( August 5th) as to how to commemorate the late John Hume.

It seems that the most fitting tribute to him and his valued concern to respect the totality of relationships that achieved the political settlement that we now enjoy on this island, is for a copy of a statue of the late John Hume, paid for by public subscription, to be erected not only in Dublin but also in Belfast, London, Strasbourg and Washington DC. – Yours, etc,

JTR MC COY,

Law Library, Four Courts, Dublin 7.

Sir, – My late mum and I once met John Hume and Pat Hume in a coffee shop at the Marian shrine of Knock.

In the same coffee shop was the well-loved and popular singer Susan Boyle. Mrs Hume was star struck and shouted to her husband, “John, she is a famous lady”. She did not seem to realise that she too was a famous lady. Why? Because like her husband she too took up her calling to cross to the other side of the road to help her neighbour, as Fr Paul Farren reflected in his homily at the requiem Mass of John Hume.

Mrs Hume, thank you for supporting and guiding your husband bring peace to our island and to homes of children who deserved to grow up in calm and happiness. – Yours, etc,

PAT SAVAGE,

Drogheda, Co Louth.

Sir, – The political ecumenism of the sad funeral of the late John Hume was inspiring. And so perhaps Dublin’s 2021 St Patrick’s Day Parade will include an Orange Order band from each of the six Northern Ireland counties?

After all, St Patrick was a Brit, wasn’t he? – Yours, etc,

FRANK C GOLDEN,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – “Blessed are the peacemakers”. If anyone deserves canonisation it must be Blessed John Hume. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN BUTLER,

Malahide, Co Dublin.

Sir, – As a young doctor in Derry in the late 1940s, my late godmother later spoke often about the extreme poverty of her patients in that city then, where she said, the men were mostly unemployed while the only work available was for women in the shirt factories.

Disease was rife and her patients had to rely on money-lenders to raise their families.

John Hume’s parents were among those people.

She could not have known then that one of those beleaguered families would produce one of Ireland’s greatest sons. May he rest in peace. – Yours, etc,

MARION WALSH,

Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Sir, – Denis Murray’s tribute to John Hume (BBC Television News, August 3rd) placed him first in the Irish pantheon ahead of O’Connell and Parnell – because he was the only one of that notable triumvirate to achieve his objective in his own lifetime.

John Hume succeeded by means of his brilliant political analysis, his uniquely creative peace architecture, and his indefatigable activity that eventually brought our people together to achieve the Belfast Agreement.

As a Presbyterian Irishman I have no hesitation in applying to him the words of the Gospel: “There was a man sent from God whose name was John”. He was a true political prophet whom we should all honour. What a debt of gratitude we owe him. – Yours, etc,

WILLIAM BROWN,

Co Down.

Sir, – A neologism: “Humenism”. – Yours, etc,

PAUL DELANEY,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – John Hume lived to bring peace and civil rights to Northern Ireland.

The IRA and their political wing Sinn Féin used terror to get into power. Those who are too young to remember the savagery of their campaign need to educate themselves. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN SHEERIN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The newspapers and airwaves are full of appreciation of John Hume and of his great achievements and rightly so. In your Editorial (August 4th) you write that what was once dismissively called Humespeak is now the language of a radically rethought Irish nationalism. This is quite true, but I am afraid it is not a language that is widely understood or spoken.

On the contrary, some of the opinions expressed recently in your letters columns on the subject of a new anthem, as proposed by Andy Pollak, through the spectrum to the widespread hostile reception received by the suggestion that members of pre-independence police forces be commemorated and on to the exuberant post-election shouts of “Up the ’Ra” make it clear that any rethinking of Irish nationalism in this part of the country has been no more than skin deep.

It is very disappointing to see the revanchist tone of these opinions which is so at variance with the overwhelming approval we gave in the post-agreement referendums to the pursuit of Irish unity by exclusively peaceful means and to the right of the people of Northern Ireland to determine their own future.

If and when Ireland is reunited politically it will not be by the 26-county state annexing the six counties after a 50 per cent plus one result in a Border poll. It will be a new state, it will have a new constitution drafted with input from all sectors of its society and will be enacted by the vote of all its people. It will accommodate all its cultures and attract the allegiance of all its citizens and it will have its own flag and anthem.

As soon as Irish nationalists understand this and accept that unity of people is more important than unity of territory, and indeed must precede it, we will be speaking the language of John Hume. – Yours, etc,

PN CORISH,

Rathgar, Dublin 6.

Sir, – I would be lying to say I remember the signing of the Belfast Agreement. I was five years old. But it is no exaggeration to say that the life I have been able to live to date, would not have been possible without the vision of John Hume.

Whatever side of the divide we may hail from, my generation is the product of John’s peace process. While our parents grew up surrounded by violence and instability, we had the fortune to come of age in a Northern Ireland that allowed us to look to our future with anticipation rather than trepidation.

We cannot allow this good fortune to leave us complacent. Many challenges facing the world today are an affront to the principles behind John’s work; the belief in the power of discourse, an openness to listening to the views of others, and driving towards solutions focused on the people.

Our island is not immune to this threat. Your Editorial (August 4th) highlights John’s insistence that, “an agreed Ireland is more important than a united Ireland”. The years to come are likely to put this to the test.

John Hume committed his life to peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland. Perhaps no other figure has or will write a more significant chapter of our shared history. It is our collective duty to shape our future in his image.

May he rest in peace. – Yours, etc,

JAMES RINGLAND,

Ranelagh,

Dublin.

Sir, – John Hume personified pure goodness and integrity as a public servant. His ability to bring people together is well documented.

At present we have very fractured and fractious discourse in political circles. It is time now for politicians here to reflect on the way they communicate in our Dáil. – Yours, etc,

MARY BARRETT,

Raheny, Dublin 5.