Death of Garret Fitzgerald

The death has taken place of former Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald. The former Fine Gael leader died on Thursday morning in Dublin, aged 85, following a short illness.

Winning the nickname of ‘Garret the Good’, he is remembered for his “constitutional crusade” to modernise Irish society and also for the Anglo Irish Agreement of 1985, an attempted peace deal he signed with with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

After a week of pomp and ceremony over the royal visit, a full state funeral is to take place on Sunday.

Taoiseach and current Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny described Dr FitzGerald as “a truly remarkable man who made a truly remarkable contribution to Ireland”. The former Fine Gael leader had a “towering intellect and enthusiasm for life”.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams praised Dr FitzGerald’s work to advance social legislation, while acknowledging that the party disagreed with him on other issues.

Mr Adams said as taoiseach, cabinet minister and long-serving TD, Dr FitzGerald had played a very significant role in Irish politics in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Obviously, Sinn Fein profoundly disagreed with him on key and fundamental issues, particularly around the issue of partition, the role of the British government in Ireland, political censorship and the treatment of republican prisoners,” he added.

“However, these differences are widely known and there is no need to dwell on them this morning.’’

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein did agree with Dr FitzGerald on other issues, “especially on social matters and Garret played a very positive role in seeking to set aside deeply conservative social legislation in this State, such as the denial of the right to divorce”.

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