Michelle O'Neill pays tribute to David Trimble's 'legacy of leadership, courage and doing right'

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O'Neill has paid an emotional tribute to David Trimble on Tuesday, saying the former First Minister left a "legacy of leadership, of courage" and "of doing the right thing".

Ms O'Neill said that Mr Trimble had been "instrumental" in delivering the "precious gift of peace" with the Good Friday Agreement.

She added: "I think that none of us should underestimate what was achieved back in 1998.

"David Trimble had the courage to step forward in his leadership role to bring people with him, to work with others."

Ms O'Neill opened her remarks by passing her condolences to Daphne Trimble and Lord Trimble's four children.

She also said that she had been in touch with Doug Beattie to convey condolences to "the UUP family".

Ms O'Neill said that Lord Trimble's actions in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement had changed Northern Ireland for the better.

She added: “My goodness, look at the transformation that our society has received over that last 24 years.

"Next year will mark 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement, and we must grab onto it with both hands and hold onto it very dearly."

Ms O'Neill said that his example should inspire the current generation of political leaders to co-operate.

She added: "David Trimble had the courage to step forward in his leadership role to bring people with him, to work with others.

"And I think that should be a message to us all even today, 24 years later. It takes courage, it takes leadership, it takes parties working together actually to achieve things. We need that same determination today as we had back in 1998."Ms O'Neill paid tribute to other departed politicians who contributed to the Good Friday Agreement and reiterated her view of their achievement.

She said; "I think when you reflect on what was achieved then, I don’t think it was lost on today’s Good Friday Agreement generation, how significant that hope and vision for something better in the future was, and I still feel that today."