Garret FitzGerald has died. Ireland’s most popular elder statesman twice served as prime minister and played a crucial role in paving the way for peace in Northern Ireland. He was 85.
As prime minister in the 1980s, FitzGerald persuaded British leader Margaret Thatcher to give Dublin an official toehold in Northern Ireland, creating a channel for the two governments to overcome decades of mistrust which led to a historic peace deal in 1998.
He also specialised in economic matters, and was an influence in shaping modern Ireland.
As foreign minister in the 1970s, FitzGerald raised Ireland’s status in what was then known as European Economic Community with his innovative views, energy and fluency in French. He campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote in the second Irish referendum on a European charter in 2009.
Before politics, Garret had careers in journalism and academia.
His death, after a short illness, prompted tributes from around the world, including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission.