A minister at the funeral of Lord Trimble has urged politicians to “redouble efforts” to resolve outstanding issues in a tribute to “one of the great”.
The former first minister and Ulster Unionist Party leader, one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, died last week, after a short illness.
Mourners were led by Lady Trimble and the couple’s four children – Richard, Victoria, Nicholas and Sarah – each of whom did a reading during the service.
The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, travelled from Dublin to pay his respects. The Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim represented Her Majesty the Queen.
The presence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart, Micheal Martin, was indicative of the high esteem in which Lord Trimble was held.
Northern Ireland’s first minister designate, Michelle O’Neill, and former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams arrived together for the funeral at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church, Lisburn.
DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, and politicians from across the spectrum at Stormont mingled with long-retired predecessors from the time of the Good Friday Agreement.
In his address, the very Rev Dr Charles Mullan, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, asked: “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?
“With courage, pragmatism and generosity of spirit, may our politicians engage wholeheartedly in resolving the outstanding issues surrounding The Northern Ireland Protocol, so that our democratic institutions are quickly restored and we can all move forward together.”
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who helped broker the historic agreement alongside then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reminisced about the courage David Trimble had shown.
Mr Blair has revealed he wrote to Lord Trimble shortly before his death, acknowledging that his leadership through “agonising negotiations” had “changed lives for the better”.
David Trimble and his nationalist counterpart, the SDLP leader John Hume, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for their role in the agreement.
Mr Hume, who died two years ago, is credited with bringing Sinn Fein in from the political cold and Lord Trimble with persuading Unionism to share power.
The Northern Ireland Assembly, which remains stymied by tension over the Brexit border in the Irish Sea, will reconvene tomorrow for tributes to David Trimble.