19.05.11 Minister Deenihan expresses his sympathy on the death of Dr. Garret Fitzgerald.

Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht expressed his deep sadness at the passing of his former Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael Dr. Garret Fitzgerald.

Speaking in Kerry this morning Minister Deenihan said: “It is with great regret that I learned early this morning of the death of Garret. While we had heard of his sickness over the last few weeks it still came as a shock to hear of his death. I have many personal memories of Garret down through the years. More recently on celebrating my own 25 years in politics Garret having promised to officiate in Listowel, kept that personal promise by travelling from Turkmenistan in Central Asia, a journey that took over 24 hours to complete. It was this deep rooted sense of loyalty that was at the core of Garret.

While Garret was very much a public figure in Irish life he never lost sight of the importance of family, his relationship with his late wife Joan was often a topic of favourable public comment and his love for his children and later his grand children all combined to make this unique intellectual giant an iconic figure in recent Irish history. Indeed, coming as he did from a marriage of a northern Protestant mother and a southern Catholic father provided the impetus to merge these two very different traditions. The highlight of his political career was the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 which gave the Irish government a role in Northern Ireland.

I want to offer my sympathy to his three children, grand children and great grandchildren.

Ní bheith a leithid arís ann.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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