James Downey: A powerful mind with a passion for his country
GARRET FitzGerald was an intellectual in politics -- a rare breed in almost any country and particularly thin on the ground in Ireland. But for all his "absent-minded professor" manner, he was also a politician to his fingertips.
He had a powerful and rational mind. His passion for public affairs ranged across the world and across history. He loved the telling detail as much as the broad sweep.
And he was a real human being: courteous, tolerant, kind, with a tremendous capacity for friendship. One of his lifelong friends was T K Whitaker, probably the most influential civil servant ever to serve this State.