Sunday 22 October 2017

'A courageous voice against terrorism' - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pays tribute to inspirational Liam Cosgrave

22 September 2013; Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave ahead of the GAA Football All-Ireland Championship Finals, Croke Park, Dublin.
22 September 2013; Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave ahead of the GAA Football All-Ireland Championship Finals, Croke Park, Dublin.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described his late predecessor Liam Cosgrave as “a courageous voice against terrorism”.

In a lengthy statement tonight, Mr Varadkar said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the 97-year-old’s passing.

“Liam Cosgrave was someone who devoted his life to public service; a grateful country thanks and honours him for that and for always putting the nation first.

“Throughout his life he worked to protect and defend the democratic institutions of our State, and showed great courage and determination in doing so,” the Fine Gael leader said.

POWER: Tanaiste Brendan Corish, left, and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave pictured in 1976
POWER: Tanaiste Brendan Corish, left, and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave pictured in 1976
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave in 1977
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and his wife Vera at Leopardstown Racecourse
Liam Cosgrave as Taoiseach in 1973
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave with his daughter-in-law Joan and his son Liam T
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave looks at a picture of his father, WT Cosgrave, who presided over the reopening of the refurbished GPO in 1929. Photo: Damien Eagers
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave donated his father's WT Cosgrave papers to the Royal Irish Academy,Dawson street,Dublin Mr.Cosgrave is holding a picture of his father ( on right- smaller of the two men ) disguised as a holy Brother when he was on the run in 1920. Picture: Tom Burke
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Ireland talks: Ted Heath at the time of the Sunningdale talks with, from left, Oliver Napier of the Allliance Party, Liam Cosgrave, Brian Faulkner and Gerry Fitt
A young Liam Cosgrave (on right) with his brother Michael and his parents, WT Cosgrave and his wife Louisa, at the official opening of Ardnacrusha power station on July 22, 1929
THE OLD GUARD: Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael and Jack Lynch of Fianna Fail in 1981
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave with Siobhn Fitzpatrick,the Academy's Librarian who took receipt of the papers at the ceremony marking the donation of his father's WT Cosgrave papers to the Royal Irish Academy,Dawson street,Dublin yesterday .Picture: Tom Burke
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave with his daughter Mary at the ceremony marking the donation of his father's WT Cosgrave papers to the Royal Irish Academy,Dawson street, Dublin yesterday. Picture: Tom Burke
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave heading to see the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, at Croke Park, Dublin today. Picture by Fergal Phillips. 20/9/15
Former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave at the ceremony in the graveyard, where his father, former President WT Cosgrave, is buried. Photo: Damien Eagers
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave

Mr Cosgrave “always believed in peaceful co-operation as the only way of achieving a genuine union between the people on this island”, Mr Varadkar added.

The Taoiseach also noted that “Liam provided a powerful link back to the foundation of the State”.

Read More: Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave has died aged 97

“His father, W.T. Cosgrave, helped create many of our institutions, and defended them when they were in jeopardy, and his son shared the same values and approach to public life.

“He joined the army during the second world war when volunteers were needed, reaching the rank of lieutenant, and he brought the same spirit of civic responsibility to his political career.”

Mr Varadkar goes on to describe the late Taoiseach as “an internationally respected statesman” who oversaw Ireland joining the United Nations.

“Consistently opposed to the use of violence, Liam Cosgrave was a courageous voice against terrorism, and protected the State in times of crisis.

“As Taoiseach he played an important role in the Sunningdale Agreement, which helped pave the way for the later agreements culminating in the Good Friday Agreement and peace on this island,” Mr Varadkar said.

“A man of conscience and principle, Liam Cosgrave joined Fine Gael at the age of seventeen, was a TD for almost forty years, and leader of the party for twelve.

“His time as Taoiseach between 1973 and 1977 will be remembered for Sunningdale, the qualities he brought in leading a successful coalition government, and his courageous defence of the state against threats internal and external.”

Read More: 'A patriot and an absolute gentleman' - Tributes paid to former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave

Mr Vardakar said “Liam was a man of great loyalty and kindness, a wonderful sense of humour, and strong personal dignity”.

“His entire life was in the service of the State, and he inspired so many with his quiet determination, courage and fortitude. Our thoughts today are particularly with his three children, Mary, Liam and Ciaran.”

He concluded that his own career has ben “inspired by his spirit of incredible public service and as Taoiseach I hope to live up to his great example”.

“Liam Cosgrave is perhaps best summed up by paraphrasing one of his most famous speeches: he was a man of integrity who, totally disregarding self-interest, always served the nation. Today we have lost a Statesman and a great man.”

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