The Nobel Peace Prize 1998
Born: 15 October 1944, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Role: MP, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Prize motivation: “for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland”
Prize share: 1/2
Protestant and Seeker of Compromise
David Trimble, the leader of Northern Ireland's Protestant party, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), was known for a long time for his implacable stance towards the Catholics. But only a few weeks after taking over as party leader in 1995, he launched discussions with his political opponents in search of compromise. Trimble sat down at the negotiating table with the Prime Minister of Ireland, the old arch-enemy Sinn Fein, and the British. In April 1998 he was one of the signatories to a peace agreement which he persuaded a UUP majority to support. The Good Friday agreement entailed extended self-government for Northern Ireland under which a reasonable degree of influence was secured for both population groups. The penal code would be reviewed, imprisoned terrorists would be released, and unlawful weapons would be destroyed.
The Peace Prize encouraged Trimble to take further steps in the peace process after he had taken over as First Minister in Northern Ireland's coalition government in November 1999.
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