John Hume and David Trimble are Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Hume is credited with being the thinker behind many of the recent political developments in Northern Ireland, from Sunningdale power-sharing to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Belfast Agreement.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 alongside the then-leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble.
When David Trimble became First Minister it was expected that Hume would take the role of his deputy, being leader of the second largest party, the SDLP. Instead this role was handed to Seamus Mallon, also of the SDLP. Some political journalists cited a bad working relationship between Hume and Trimble despite collecting the Nobel prize with him.
Trimble at first opposed the appointment of former US Senator George J. Mitchell as the chairman of the multi-party talks which resulted in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (GFA) of 1998. Trimble was subsequently seen as instrumental in getting his party to accept the accord. Later in 1998, Trimble and John Hume were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Left wing commentator Eamon McCann described Trimble winning the Nobel Peace Prize as winning the lottery and not buying a ticket. Trimble was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly and subsequently became First Minister of Northern Ireland with Seamus Mallon as deputy First Minister. However arguments over the extent of Provisional Irish Republican Army decommissioning meant that Trimble's tenure as First Minister was repeatedly interrupted. In particular:
* The office of First Minister was suspended from 11 February 2000 to 30 May 2000.
* Trimble resigned as First Minister on 1 July 2001, but was re-elected on 5 November 2001.
* The Assembly was suspended from 14 October 2002 until 2007 due to accusations of an IRA spy ring being operated there (the so-called Stormontgate Affair).