Monday 5 December 2016

John Downing: Always against partition, as well as against violence

Published 27/08/2016 | 02:30

Peter Barry with party leader Garret FitzGerald at the 1986 Ard Fheis. PIC JOHN CARLOS
Peter Barry with party leader Garret FitzGerald at the 1986 Ard Fheis. PIC JOHN CARLOS

On Saturday, March 21, 1987, Peter Barry was on his way from Dublin to his home in Cork, when he decided to make a small stop-off in Kildare town.

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Barry, then aged 58, wanted to personally congratulate Alan Dukes, who was hosting a celebration in his home base, hours after being elected leader of Fine Gael, defeating Mr Barry. "It was typical of Peter Barry, who was always gracious, pragmatic and loyal. He avoided thoughts of entitlements, about what might have been, and got on with things," Dukes recalled yesterday.

He is remembered for his trenchant and successful work in advancing peace in Northern Ireland. The veteran Fine Gael politician and businessman is also recalled by some in his own party as the "best leader they never had".

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