Following the sad passing of John Hume, politician and Nobel Prize-winning peacemaker, Michael Collins, IIEA Director General and Former Irish Ambassador to the United States and Germany, said:
“John Hume’s was the voice that key American politicians listened to over three decades when The Troubles in Ireland were at their most extreme. Working in the US during these years, and later again as Ambassador in Washington, I was deeply grateful that John Hume saw the importance of America for achieving a just and lasting peace in Ireland.
His consistent message of non-violence and political inclusivity made a real difference. He connected powerful politicians with the realities of Ireland and played a huge part in dissuading those Irish Americans who were inclined, at that time, to support the IRA. His was the authentic voice of constitutional nationalism, the gold standard, around which America rallied.
I vividly remember being with him in the White House in 1993 when the Hume/Adams talks were being subjected to massive criticism by some in Ireland. The pressure on him was enormous. The strain was evident. But then, as always, John was a man of vision and courage. It was that vision and that courage that opened up the path to the peace that we enjoy in Ireland today.
Maurice Fitzpatrick’s wonderful documentary, “John Hume in America – In The Name of Peace”, shows how John Hume brought America into the Irish peace process. It would not have happened without his extraordinary work and personal sacrifice. For me, and for many, he was indeed Ireland’s greatest.”