Kerry County Council’s Book of Condolences for John Hume – Man of Peace

The late John Hume, MP / MEP pictured with Knocknagoshel native, Castleisland resident, Eileen Cotter and former Labour Party Leader and Tánaiste, Dick Spring at the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Project in Blennerville.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 30-4-1999
You can sign Kerry County Council’s Virtual Book of Condolences for the late John Hume with a click on the image above.

The Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Patrick Connor Scarteen has opened an online Book of Condolences for the late Nobel laureate and peacemaker, John Hume.

Cllr. Connor-Scarteen said that John Hume made an immense contribution to peace on the island of Ireland and that he was pleased to afford the people of Kerry the opportunity to express their sympathies and share their messages on Mr. Hume at this sad time.

Kerry County Council will share these messages with the Hume family after the closure of the Virtual Book of Condolences on Monday, August 31st, 2020.

Links with the Credit Union Movement

Because of his links with the Credit Union movement – in 1964 he was the second national president of the movement at just 27 years of age – John Hume, MP / MEP travelled down to Ballydesmond in the winter of 2000 to officially open the Rathmore Credit Union’s Ballydesmond branch office which also houses the Nora Herlihy Museum.

Nora Herlihy’s keen observations of the poverty of the Ireland of the early 1950s launched her life-long determination and drive to set up the Credit Union movement throughout Ireland at that time.

Poverty of the People

This was matched only by John Hume’s own experiences of the need and poverty of the people of the city and surroundings he was born into and reared and lived in – and served so well.

When he spoke of the influence of Nora Herlihy (1910 – 1988) in Ballydesmond on that bitterly cold, November Sunday afternoon, it was clearly from the heart of a man who knew exactly what he was talking about.

Presence And Support

Mr. Hume spoke about Nora Herlihy on that day in the kind of glowing terms which are now being applied to his own life of service to the people of the island of Ireland and in the exact same course pioneered by Ms. Herlihy before him.

On that day he also set his street-side gathering thinking when he asked if they could imagine the economy of their time and of the recent decades without the presence and support provided by the Irish Credit Union movement.

Debt Wiped Out on Death

Challenging issues being his stock in trade, Mr. Hume also asked if a government minister was to bring in a law which would wipe out a person’s debt on their death; “Would that minister not become a hero,” he asked – “that’s exactly what the Credit Union has done since the 1960s.

“That’s total social security and it’s what governments are supposed to be doing,” he said in the presence of Nora Herlihy’s sisters and her niece, Marian Finucane of RTÉ.

Not the Only Trip Down

The Ballydesmond trip wasn’t John Hume’s only foray into the deep south.

He was also one of the many distinguished visitors to drop in on the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Project during its ship-building stages in Blennerville. There, he was accompanied by former Labour Party leader and Tánaiste Dick Spring.

Mr. Hume described the project as ‘a powerful symbol of peace and reconciliation.’

He welcomed the opportunity to visit the site and was delighted to see that so many young people from his part of the island were working down here.

Light a Candle for Peace

Because of the times we’re living in, Mr. Hume’s family has requested a low-key funeral to avoid people having to congregate in close proximity to one another.

They have also requested that people light a candle and put it safely in their windows at 9pm tonight

as a desire for and a sign of peace in memory of the man who did so much to bring that precious state about on these islands.

May God be good to him.