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Trimble of Lisnagarvey, William David Trimble, Baron

William David Trimble Trimble of Lisnagarvey, Baron, 1944–, Northern Irish political leader, grad. Queens Univ., Belfast (LL.B.). A Protestant Unionist, he became (1969) a barrister and taught law at his alma mater. In the early 1970s he was a member of the radical loyalist Ulster Vanguard party but later joined (1978) the more moderate Ulster Unionist party (UUP). Elected to the British parliament in 1990, he became leader of the UUP in 1995. Despite his pro-British sentiments and his close associations with Ian Paisley and other hardliners, Trimble proved to be a flexible negotiator and played an integral part in the multiparty peace negotiations, facilitated by the United States, that began in 1997 and ended in the peace agreement of April, 1998. For their work in securing this historic accord, Trimble and John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, were awarded the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. Trimble subsequently (1999) became Northern Ireland's first minister, serving in the post (with interruptions) until 2002, when conflicts with Sinn Féin forced a government suspension. In 2005 Trimble lost his parliamentary seat and resigned as UUP leader. He was created a life peer in 2006.

See his To Raise Up a New Northern Ireland, Articles and Speeches 1998–2000 (2001); biographies by H. McDonald (2001), D. Godson (2004), and F. Millar (2005); M. Kerr, Transforming Unionism: David Trimble and the 2005 General Election (2005).

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Trimble, (William) David

Trimble, (William) David (b. 1944). Ulster Unionist leader. Educated at Bangor Grammar School and Queen's University, Trimble lectured in law at Queen's until elected to the Westminster Parliament for Upper Bann in 1990. His reputation then was as a hard-liner. In 1995 he defeated John Taylor for the leadership after James Molyneaux had retired. Since 1998 he has been first minister of the devolved government of Northern Ireland and was awarded (with John Hume) the Nobel peace prize the same year. Most of his time has been devoted to holding his party together and preserving the ‘peace process’ in the face of IRA intransigence and British government weakness. At the general election of 2005 he was badly beaten in Upper Bann by his DUP challenger and resigned the leadership of his party.

J. A. Cannon

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