Sunday 23 July 2017

President leads tributes to a man of 'great courtesy'

From the left: Sir Geoffrey Howe (Britain's foreign secretary), Peter Barry (Irish foreign minister), Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Dr Fitzgerald (Irish Prime Minister), Dick Spring (Irish deputy Premier) and James Prior (Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary) at Chequers in Buckinghamshire for the Anglo-Irish talks. Photo: PA Wire
From the left: Sir Geoffrey Howe (Britain's foreign secretary), Peter Barry (Irish foreign minister), Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Dr Fitzgerald (Irish Prime Minister), Dick Spring (Irish deputy Premier) and James Prior (Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary) at Chequers in Buckinghamshire for the Anglo-Irish talks. Photo: PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former Tánaiste Peter Barry was a man of "great courtesy" and "immensely popular across all parties", President Michael D Higgins has said.

The President said his view of Irish history was "a long one and he brought all that wisdom to bear in his contributions to achieving the Anglo Irish Agreement of 1985".

He added that in his non-political life he "gained enormous respect internationally through his work in the family business".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the party's former deputy leader would be deeply missed.

"Throughout his long and distinguished political career, Peter gave outstanding service to his country and to his native city," he said.

"In particular, his central and pivotal role in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 helped to create the foundations on which the peace process in Northern Ireland was built."

Mr Kenny said he left an "extraordinary legacy".

Current Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald added Mr Barry had "served his country with distinction, dignity and integrity".

"I will always remember him fondly as a great colleague totally committed to the highest standards in public office," she said.

Housing Minister Simon ­Coveney, who now holds a seat for Fine Gael in Mr Barry's Cork South Central constituency, praised his contribution to business on Leeside.

"His contribution to Cork and to Ireland at very challenging times, both economically and politically, will be favourably remembered.

"For my part, the Barry family were largely responsible for our family entering politics in the early 1980s," he said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described him as a "distinguished minister" who will be best remembered for his stewardship of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

"Under his leadership he built a family business, which has employed generations of Cork people, into an iconic Irish brand.

Former Labour Party leader Dick Spring said Mr Barry was an "extremely loyal colleague, and was trusted and respected by parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the House".

He credited Mr Barry with playing a "central role" in developing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

Irish Independent

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