'He gave his life and his health for Ireland' - John Hume laid to rest in Derry
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'He gave his life and his health for Ireland' - John Hume laid to rest in Derry

MOURNERS said their final goodbyes to John Hume this morning as he was laid to rest in his native Derry.

The former SDLP leader - who passed away on Monday - was an integral part of the peace process between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The service took place at the Cathedral of Saint Eugene.

President Michael D Higgins , Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney all attended the funeral mass. Northern Ireland’s First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, were also in attendance.

Due to health concerns, the amount of people allowed to attend the service was limited, but many who couldn't make it sent it messages of love and appreciation to Hume, including the likes of Pope Francis, Bill Clinton, Bono and Boris Johnson.

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John Hume's son, Aidan, was unable to fly home to Derry from Boston due to public health advice, though his wife Patricia and children Terese, Áine, John Jr and Mo were present.

The Vatican said in a statement: "John Hume's untiring efforts to promote dialogue, reconciliation and peace among the people of Northern Ireland, his Holiness commends his noble soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God."

At the start of the funeral, Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, said that John Hume believed that "living means participating, not just observing".

He added: "He didn’t just dream of peace.  His life's vocation was to play peacemaker for the good of others.

"Because of his past, we can face our future."

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton described Hume as Ireland's Martin Luther King.

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John Hume Jr spoke not just about the his father as a politician, but also as a man, stressing that his legacy extended beyond just the peace process and that he had a huge impact on his children.

"Aside from his achievements, he made us laugh, he made us dream, he made us think," John Hume Jr said.

"He made us sometimes look at him and scratch our heads in amazement.

"He kept the Irish chocolate industry in business for many years. On Father’s Day a few weeks ago, his grandchildren posted him all of his favourite chocolate bars."