Ritchie Pays Tribute To Garret Fitzgerald

The Anglo-Irish Agreement which instituted this partnership was achieved against a background of rising violence and strong political resistance both in Dublin and London. It was the absolute pivot upon which the later stages of the peace process turned. “Garret Fitzgerald was a statesman who took political risks and suffered political disadvantage in pursuit of peace, because he was a patriot with a vision of what Ireland could be. Above all he was a moderniser who wanted Ireland to find its proper place in the world of today unhampered by the conflicts of yesterday. On leaving political office he moved swiftly into the role of social and economic commentator, journalist and broadcaster, and to all these fields he brought the same qualities of honesty and deep scholarship. [caption id="attachment_23970" align="alignleft" width="195" caption="The late Garett Fitzgerald (1926-2011)."][/caption] “It is poignant that he has passed away during a royal visit which, as Seamus Mallon has noted, would simply have been impossible without his contribution to the work of peace. May he rest in the same peace.” Tributes have been flowing into the Irish media following his death on Thursday. The Fine Gael TD Garret Fitzgerald had been at the fore front of Irish politics for over 20 years. He served as Taoiseach  from 1981-82 and 1982-87 in two governments, and was  elected to the Seanad Éireann in 1965. Fitzgerald was also Foreign Affairs Minister from 1973 to 1977 at a key time when the European Community was expanding. He also was leader of the Fine Gael party from 1977 and 1987. Active to the last, Fitzgerald had a column in the Irish Times and occasionally appeared on TV. He was also the current  president of the Institute of International and European Affairs.]]>