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DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster MLA has paid tribute to former SDLP Leader John Hume who passed away today.

Mrs Foster said,

“John was a giant figure in Irish nationalism, but also in the wider life of Northern Ireland. For many of my generation, he was a constant throughout our lives. Whilst we disagreed politically, I always admired his steadfast abhorrence of violence, regardless from where it came.

He left his unique mark in the House of Commons, in Brussels and in Washington and even those of us who will have differed in our constitutional preference cannot fail to have admired and respected his drive and desire for a better future. Whilst he was recognised across the world, there can be no doubt however that John’s loss will be most keenly felt here at home.

My thoughts are with all his colleagues and friends today who will be feeling the loss of someone very dear to them.

In particular however I want to share my sympathies with his brother, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Most especially however to his dear wife Pat who was another constant in John’s life and played such an important role as she walked alongside him.”