Monday 5 December 2016

John Bruton: A great citizen, he was the man who changed Ireland

Published 20/05/2011 | 05:00

John Bruton (right) served as Finance Minister after Fine Gael, led by Garret FitzGerald, won power in 1981
John Bruton (right) served as Finance Minister after Fine Gael, led by Garret FitzGerald, won power in 1981

GARRET FitzGerald will stand out as a man who changed Ireland. He changed our attitudes to the Northern question, helping us to see it as a matter of people and their allegiance and how these can best be respected, and no longer simply as a matter of territorial claim and counterclaim.

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He changed attitudes to Europe, seeing that Ireland could do best in Europe, if it contributed creatively to goals and ambitions of other members, and to achieving closer union, rather than focusing exclusively on our own needs and what we could extract from common funds. Fluent in French and Spanish, he was enthusiastic about all the good things we shared with our fellow Europeans.

He also had a new and optimistic approach to economics. He believed that, if problems were researched and analysed properly, they could be solved by public and private sectors working together in a planned way.

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