David Trimble's remains are taken from the church after the funeral service. photo.

David Trimble Lauded at Funeral Service

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have attended the funeral of former First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble.

Speaking at the funeral service at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, the Rev Dr. Charles McMullen said Mr. Trimble, who was one of the architects of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, helped forge peace in Northern Ireland, but at a personal cost.

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“As so many have said over these past few days, history will be exceedingly kind to David even if life brought many unrelenting pressures and demands.

“He was a committed family man and as I have sat with Daphne, his daughters Victoria and Sarah, sons Richard and Nicholas, over these past few days, I have been deeply touched and moved by so many stories, all of which underlined how dearly loved he was by them,

“They gave him to us and we want to take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to them.”

The former Ulster Unionist leader later sat in the House of Lords.

Rev. McMullen recalled Mr. Trimble's speech after winning the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

“In that speech David made this inspiring comment. ‘The dark shadow we seem to see in the distance is not really a mountain ahead, but the shadow of the mountain behind – a shadow from the past thrown forward into our future. It is a dark sludge of historical sectarianism. We can leave it behind us if we wish. But both communities must leave it behind, because both created it.'

“It is a very powerful quotation because it reminds us of the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement in placing the principle of consent at the centre of our politics and ultimately removing the gun.

“It reminds us also that although we are on a journey from the past, the mountain still casts a shadow and we are all, to a greater or lesser extent, recovering sectarians.

“Can we use this service today, in a fitting tribute to one of the great, to redouble our efforts on this island home of ours?”

Mr. Trimble (77) died last week after an illness. His last public appearance was at Queen’s University in Belfast last month at the unveiling of his portrait by artist Colin Davidson, where he looked physically frail. Also in attendance that day was former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who delivered a speech on that occasion describing Mr Trimble as a “passionate and determined peacemaker."

Mr. Ahern was also at his funeral on Monday. Former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson were also among the mourners.