Northern Ireland politician John Hume has been knighted by Pope Benedict in recognition of his work with the peace process.

The former SDLP leader and Nobel Laureate has been made a Knight of St Gregory for his peace work.

The Papal honor is due recognition for the 75-year-old, whose dialogue with Sinn Féin set the foundations for the 1998 Good Friday Agreementand helped bring about an end to violence.

His SDLP party has confirmed the honour for Derry-born Hume, one of the architects of the peace process as the second leader of the SDLP from 1979 to 2001.

A former Catholic civil rights leader, Hume also served as a member of the European Parliament and an MP for Foyle as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

A recent poll by Irish state broadcaster RTE saw Hume voted as Ireland’s greatest person in the history of the country.