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    Good Friday Agreement: Bigger picture politics needed, says Hume daughter

    • By Elaine McGee
    • BBC News NI

    Image caption,

    John and Pat Hume, after his election in 1998

    Political paralysis in Northern Ireland is prolonging the trauma from the Troubles, the daughter of John and Pat Hume has said.

    Aine Abbott said there were not enough diverse voices within the current political arena.

    There is a need now for “bigger picture politics,” she told BBC Radio Foyle as the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement is marked.

    A founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), he played a major role in the peace talks that led to the agreement in 1998.

    Speaking to the Breakfast Show, Dr Abbott – who works in the health service – said she has vivid memories of the peace deal being signed.

    “I recall hugely intensive activity and anticipatory anxiety,” she continued.

    “And the exhaustion that went with it all and then the enormous huge sense of relief when it happened and the sense of possibility that it opened.”

    Image caption,

    Dr Abbott said her father saw the agreement as a beginning for peace and reconcilation

    Pat Hume worked alongside her husband from the beginning of the civil rights movement in Londonderry in the 1960s right through to the Good Friday Agreement.

    Dr Abbott said her father saw the signing of the Good Friday Agreement as just a beginning for Northern Ireland on the path to peace and reconciliation.

    “Dad always said: ‘This is the just the start.’

    “He always hoped for people working together and we would build trust.

    “In order to recover from trauma, we do need to create space in the community.

    “In the political arena, we haven’t had that diverse conversation and it feels like we’ve got a bit stuck,” she said.

    Image caption,

    John Hume, pictured at home in 2000, consistently opposed violence on all sides throughout the Troubles

    Dr Abbott said she felt politics here continues to be dominated by a negativity and a “fear of the other”.

    “One of the things Dad always talked in terms of borders was that the important borders were in our hearts and minds.

    “And those are the borders we have to sort out. It’s about creating a safe space for all the stories that people are carrying to be heard and we haven’t quite got there. Towards bigger picture politics.”

    John and Pat Hume died within a year of each other. Dr Abbott said the Good Friday Agreement anniversary can be a difficult time for the family.

    “There’s a lot of conversation around mum and dad and that brings up a lot of emotions. But its also nourishing. There’s a lot of fondness in it, so it’s a mixture.”

    Dr Abbott also told of her pride of her late parents’ legacy and role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

    Image caption,

    John and Pat Hume died within a year of each other.

    “I am deeply proud of them and all of the people who supported them.

    “And I am deeply proud of the place and of the kind of courage that we all got to witness growing up in so many people.

    “That inspired them, and in turn inspired us. I am proud of all of it.”



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