19 Aug 2022

Longford connection to former UUP leader

David Trimble Funeral

President Michael D HIggins, British Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Micheal Martin were among the mourners at the late David Trimble's funeral mass in Co Antrim on Monday

As the very first First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, was laid to rest on Monday news of his familial connections to Longford came to light.

President, Michael D Higgins joined Taoiseach Micheal Martin to attended the funeral of Lord Trimble. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Northern Ireland Secretary Shailesh Vara were also at the service at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, Antrim.

David Trimble died last week at the age of 77 following an illness. The former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party moved from being a hardline Unionist to one of the peace brokers who made the 1998 Good Friday Agreement possible. He was jointly awarded the Nobel prize with late SDLP leader John Hume in recognition of their efforts to establish a powersharing system of devolved government.

Longford native David Leahy, a researcher of genealogy, spoke of the connection between the Agreement architect and the Farrell county: “David Trimble's grandfather was George David Trimble who was born in 1874 at Sheeroe Townland in Clonbroney Parish, County Longford to Alexander Trimble (son of Alexander Trimble, Sheeroe Townland, Clonbroney Parish) and Elizabeth Small (daughter of Joseph Small, Tonywardan Townland, Granard Parish).”

David explained how he dug up the connection: “I am interested in the history of Longford and the genealogy of Longford people. I came across the connection years ago when I was contacted by someone researching David Trimble's ancestry.”
The Trimble family were members of the Tully Presbyterian Church and the Meeting House in Granard Parish, County Longford. George David Trimble joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1891. He was recorded, aged 26, at Queen Street Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks, Belfast County Antrim at the time of the 1901 Census.

The politician's grandfather George left Longford in 1895 to join the RIC. He married Sara Jane Sparks at Knappagh Presbyterian Church and Meeting House in County Armagh in 1903 and the family were recorded at Carmel Street, Belfast, County Antrim at the time of the 1911 Census.

George attained the rank of Sergeant and transferred to the Royal Ulster Constabulary on its formation in 1922 after the partition of Ireland. He died in Belfast in 1962.

David said former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party may have been aware of the Longford connection: “I presume he was. I was in touch with an author who was putting together a book on David Trimble, I passed on the information to him, so Lord Trimble was probably aware of it.”

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