We all know that there are still big problems and that the new constitutional basis for the peaceful resolution of conflicts is fragile. Again this fall, we have seen terrorist attacks that have claimed several lives. But it seems that these are isolated cases and that they have only helped to reinforce the general requirement for construction on the basis of peaceful solutions defined in the Good Friday Agreement. The IRA ceasefire, an important condition for progress on the road to peace, remains in force. So while we are aware that things can change quickly in our uncertain world, the situation has been different since Good Friday this year. The vicious circle of violence has been broken. The peace process has set up its own dynamics, which makes it unlikely that we will return to previous conditions of terror, although we must be prepared for minor setbacks in the process. John Hume and David Trimble are both from Northern Ireland, where they lived with and in the conflict. They are both leading politicians, leaders or leaders of Northern Ireland`s two main political parties, with parties representing both groups in a divided population. Both pledged to follow the good Friday agreement: that conflicts must be resolved by peaceful means. The strong support for the agreement in the referendum shows that they made the right choice.
As chairman of the traditionally dominant northern Ireland party, David Trimble has shown great political courage in advocating, in a critical phase of the process, the solutions that led to the Belfast Peace Agreement (Good Friday).  Our two laureates have done a great job on the cause of good. Both showed great courage. This is how many others: Gerry Adams, Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, to name but a few of those who contributed the most in the final phase of the process that led to the Good Friday agreement. U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who has made such an important contribution as a mediator, described with precision the work of our two laureates, whom I would like to quote: «Without Mr. Hume, there would not have been a peace process without Mr. Trimble, no agreement.» It is a privilege for us to be able to honour you today. At the same time, we know that many difficult tasks lie ahead.
We are heartened that you will continue to lead the process and have good support from many parties. But there are differences between them. In 1970, at a time of spiral violence, John Hume helped found the party, of which he became the undisputed leader, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). It is a nationalist party, but it has always defended the principle that only peaceful means can be used. Hume is more than anyone the architect behind the peace process and the solution adapted to the solution chosen in the Good Friday Agreement. He was unwavering in his view that discussions and institutional solutions must be integrated. Even those who had chosen violent means in their political struggle should have the opportunity to participate in the peace process, to change their strategy and to be taken at their word if they did. Especially in times of escalating violence, Hume has had to swallow sometimes very harsh criticisms from his own ranks and others for his gentle approach to extremists.