I was very sad to hear of the death of John Hume. RIP
John and I had a number of conversations some years ago.
They took place in Kealys pub and restaurant in Greencastle in Donegal, where John and his family had a holiday home.
At the time my mother and I had a little cottage not far from Greencastle, in the village of Gleneely.
We used to over for one or two nights a week and sometimes had dinner at Kealys.
On some of the occasions we met and talked John was obviously under pressure.
The political life he led took it’s own toll on him, as you would expect.
It involved a lot of pressure and a lot of stress.
And of course, it ate away into his family and personal time.
I think that John was fond of a drink – and nothing wrong with that.
He seems to have been a fairly committed catholic but retained a strong ability to think for himself.
He once rowed with Bishop William Philbin over whether Catholics should join the RUC.
At the time Hume felt they should not.
How would I sum up his life?
He was a good man.
He was a peace maker.
He had a quiet charisma that people recognised and liked.
He left Ireland and the world a much better place.
We may not have had the peace we have without him.
No man lives a perfect life.
But I think that John Hume could have met his maker with not too much to worry about.
As a peace maker he was a son of God.
In my 40 plus years in Northern Ireland I have never voted for the SDLP.
For most of the time I voted for Sinn Fein and for the last couple of times, in return for great services rendered, I voted for Sammy Wilson.
I always found the SDLP too “Catholic” for my liking – the political wing of the RCC – very like Fianna Fail in the Republic.
And now the SDLP and FF are political partners.
And the SFLP leader is now besties with Me- Hole Martin.
Traditionally I would be an Old Labour type.
But in the Republic it has been Fianna Gael that has modernised Irish society and smashed the grip of the RCC.
People like Garret Fitzgerald and Leo Varadkar have been great leaders.
The biggest problem that the SDLP had / has is that there was only one John Hume.
Hume was a great.
The rest are only average at best.